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Metra Trains Will Stop At McCormick Place During NATO Summit

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 18, 2012 7:40PM

Photo Credit: Andrew Lennie

The Secret Service announced yesterday that rail lines under McCormick Place will remain open during the NATO summits in May, though commuters should expect delays. The Chicago Tribune reports Metra, Amtrak and South Shore trains will all operate on normal schedules. Only the Canadian National Railway, which operates four to six freight trains a day, will use an alternate route. Frank Benedetto, special agent in charge of the Chicago Secret Service field office said in a statement “Our plan presents the best possible solution to balancing the need for comprehensive security while minimizing delay and intrusion on ridership.”

Officials have yet to say what kind of delays commuters might run into, and also hinted that some stations might still be closed. In an interview with the Sun-Times, Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie only said “That’ll be determined later on - if any specific rail stations will be closed. It’s possible, (but) it’ll be minimal, if that’s going to happen. “

Meanwhile, the Trib also reports that the Illinois National Guard will be deployed for the NATO summit to assist moving dignitaries around the city. Around 500 to 600 guardsmen will either assist moving dignitaries between hotels and McCormick Place, or perform ceremonial tasks related to the summit meetings. In addition, a separate contingent of guardsmen will be conducting a “large-scale domestic response drill” outside of Cook County.

According to Guard officials and OMEC, the upcoming drill and presence of guardsmen is unrelated to the Blackhawk helicopters which buzzed the Loop Monday night and have been flying low over the city throughout the week. According to OMEC, the maneuvers are “designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.” Last night, they could be seen circling Pilsen around 8pm.