We’re from the suburbs, and for the suburbs: since 2002, The Yard Social Club serves suburban Chicago by making transit fun. Tag along on one of our Train Crawls, or dive into our resources to plan your own suburban excursion. Give your car a break this weekend and see where transit can take you!
Get out and explore the suburbs on a Train Crawl: buy a Metra $10 Weekend Pass, grab a schedule, and be merry throughout the six-county region all while your car rests comfortably in your garage or on your driveway.
Not sure where to begin planning your day riding the rails? Check out our tips and tricks based on our years of experience planning train crawls throughout Chicagoland.
Check out our interactive map detailing every commuter rail station in the Chicago area with basic schedule information, station-area amenities, and some of our favorite stops throughout the region.
Basic information about each of the commuter rail lines serving the Chicago area, with direct links to official schedules by the service providers and our line-by-line guides to help you plan your trip from start to finish. Our guides include bidirectional schedules, fare information, recommended venues, transit connections, and more.
Grab one of our off-the-shelf full train crawl schedules from our previous outings.
Overwhelmed? Don’t want to deal with the nuts and bolts of planning a full afternoon and evening of bar-hopping? Let us know what you have in mind and we’ll take care of the rest.
Our Weekend Guides include schedules, transfer information, fares, recommended venues, and more. Click on a line name to download a PDF.
Union Pacific North
Union Pacific Northwest *NEW – effective 9/3*
Union Pacific West
BNSF Railway *NEW – effective 9/3*
Rock Island *NEW – effective 9/3*
Metra Electric – Suburban Main Line
Metra Electric – City Main/Blue Island
Metra Electric – South Chicago Branch
Pace Interstate 90 Service
Our mission at The Yard Social Club is to Support Sustainable Suburbia, and we primarily do that through all our train crawl resources: if we make it fun and easy to spend a day exploring the suburbs using only Metra, we’re breaking down barriers and smoothing the learning curve required for occasional riders to take transit in the hopes that they’ll choose transit more often.
But sometimes it’s the transit agencies that need a little nudge, not the potential riders. So we launched STAR:LINE Chicago, a transit advocacy group focusing on improving suburban transit and other transportation opportunities as well as advocating for other innovative changes to make the suburbs more sustainable. We advocate through direct outreach to transit and transportation providers where possible, and through our Diverging Approach blog postings.
STAR:LINE is an acronym for Supportive Transit for All Riders: Leisure, Infrequent, New, and Experienced, which represents our diverse focus on advocating for everyone who can choose to use public transit, not just regular commuters. It also intentionally refers to Metra’s once-proposed STAR Line, which promised to offer suburb-to-suburb rail transit connections but never came to pass. (The east-west portion of the STAR Line now forms the backbone of Pace’s enhanced Interstate 90 service, but north-south transit connectivity through the suburbs is still sorely lacking.)
The way to really blog.
Breaking the summer hiatus to quickly join tonight’s chorus. I pride myself on using this blog to opine about suburban transit issues, since there are plenty of people smarter than I who are better suited to spill ink on urban transit issues. That said though, there’s plenty of overlap in those missions. In many cases, … Continue reading Diverging Approach: Ceaselessly Into the Past
Last week, this blog dove into Illinois’s forthcoming capital bill, with a skeptical look at extensions to Metra’s BNSF service into Kendall County. While the merits of the $440 million Kendall County extension price tag can be debated, the $3.8 billion elephant in the room is the megaproject at the other end of the BNSF … Continue reading Diverging Approach: A Bridge Too Far, Part 2