UP seeks to sell Chicago-area commuter stations

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west point

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No surprise. Anything to reduce its real estate and therefore capital holdings. That indirectly helps reduce costs for the almighty OR.
 

MikefromCrete

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Daily Herald article. Sounds like another aspect of UP wanting to be out of the commuter rail business, at least in Metra territory.

Interesting that the article mentions only Northwest and West Line stations, not North Line stations. However, it's not a comprehensive list.
The Daily Herald serves the Northwest and West Suburbs, so they probably don't give a thought to the North Suburbs since they have no readers there.
 
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I can well understand why any freight railroad would want to sell off commuter stations. The property has no use or value to them yet they must pay property taxes. Where I live, in New Jersey, not even New Jersey Transit is willing to own and maintain commuter stations. At best they do it grudgingly offering only minimal amenities--shelters similar to their pre fabricated bus shelters. However, some municipal governments have brought commuter stations. During morning rush hours private vendors sell coffee and newspapers. In return they must do some maintenance on the station. That is the best we have come up with. However, in some places the municipality will own an existing station and use it as a meeting place for local organizations and similar things.
 

NorthShore

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In some sense, UP has been trying to get out of owning stations for some time. Partly, that has taken place through rentals of certain properties which find retail or arts reuse. But, I also recall a Metra rep discussing intent of UP to liquidate properties almost twenty years ago.
 

cirdan

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What precisely does it mean to sell a station? I guess they are not able to sell a full freehold as the station is still on railroad land. Maybe they can sell off buildings not immediately adjacent to tracks, but platforms are a different matter as they are within the strategic ROW. So I am guessing they are at most able to sell some sort of right to look after, do maintenance and modifications on, and derive income from.
 

NorthShore

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What precisely does it mean to sell a station? I guess they are not able to sell a full freehold as the station is still on railroad land. Maybe they can sell off buildings not immediately adjacent to tracks, but platforms are a different matter as they are within the strategic ROW. So I am guessing they are at most able to sell some sort of right to look after, do maintenance and modifications on, and derive income from.

Liability issues do come into play if one approaches the station from other railroad property, like platforms.

I wonder if what they're really looking at is something similar to the long term leases government agencies have sought for infrastructure and revenue streams.
 

MikefromCrete

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This is all part of a game being played by the UP to get Metra to take over all the employees involved in the commuter operations while UP retains ownership of the tracks. This will allow the UP to report to Wall Street moguls that 500 to 1,000 employees have been removed from the books, causing the big time stockholders to weep with joy and UP execs to get a big bonus.
 

neroden

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Obviously. Metra should contact the Chicago Congressional delegation and start negotiations to buy the tracks. Gets even more off of UP's books, but actually has benefits.
 
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