2012 Master Plan


The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) conducted the Chicago Union Station Master Plan Study during 2010-2012 as a collaborative effort with extensive participation from Amtrak (the station’s owner), Metra (the station’s primary tenant), and other stakeholder organizations. These planning efforts represented a continuation of the City of Chicago’s longstanding interests in improving passenger transportation and interchange facilities in the Union Station area, consistent with the City’s Central Area ACTION Plan of 2009 and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GO TO 2040 regional plan.

Union Station is one of the region’s key transportation facilities and economic drivers. It is the third-busiest railroad terminal in the United States, serving over 300 trains per weekday carrying about 120,000 arriving and departing passengers – a level of passenger traffic that would rank it among the ten busiest airports in the U.S. Most travelers at Union Station take Metra commuter trains. The Station is also the hub of Amtrak’s network of regional trains serving the Midwest as well as most of the nation’s overnight trains, which connect to the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

This Study identifies potential ideas for adding tracks and platforms, as well as possible opportunities for improving passenger flows. Short, medium, and long-term opportunities have been identified to assist Amtrak, Metra, and other station stakeholders in preparing for these future improvements. The Project Partners are carrying out the next steps in this plan, which is included below for reference purposes.


  • •Provide sufficient capacity for significant increases in Metra and intercity ridership
    •      -estimated 40% increase in trains by 2040
    •      -possible significant further increases
  • •Make the terminal more inviting for passengers
  • •Provide more direct and convenient transfers to buses, CTA trains, taxis, shuttles, pick-up/drop-off
  • •Create a terminal that is vibrant, a civic asset, and a catalyst for growth in the West Loop and region


Chicago Union Station Master Plan Study – Second Stage Technical Memorandum No. 1:

December 2013

Second Stage Technical Memorandum No. 1

Chicago Union Station Master Plan Study – First Stage Brochure:

May 2012

First Stage Brochure

Chicago Union Station Master Plan Study – First Stage Final Report:

May 2012

First Stage Final Report

You Can View The First Stage Final Report by Section:

0 – Cover and Executive Summary.pdf

1 – Introduction.pdf

2 – History.pdf

3 – Background.pdf

4 – Ideas for Improvements.pdf

5 – Public Involvement.pdf

6 – Next Steps and Credits.pdf

Appendix A-Historical Items.pdf

Appendix B-Street Level Operations.pdf

Appendix C-Medium Term Ideas.pdf

Appendix D-Long Term-Visionary Ideas.pdf

Appendix E-Real Estate Issues & Opportunities.pdf

Appendix F-Alternatives Not Advanced.pdf

Appendix G-Media Articles.pdf

Appendix H-Chicago Union Station Projects in Context.pdf