The suburbs get a bad rap.

Sprawling subdivisions, soulless strip malls, and serpentine superhighways scar the suburban scenery. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Welcome to The Yard Social Club, where we support sustainable suburban solutions through transportation.


The Yard Social Club

Promoting transit-focused solutions for suburbanites

We believe that if people have positive experiences using public transit, they’ll be more likely to choose public transit in the future. Here at The Yard Social Club, we focus on breaking those initial barriers to entry by creating and encouraging fun leisure excursions using transit, and giving you the resources you need to plan your own trips. Download our Weekend Guides for your closest Metra line or check out our Ultimate Train Crawl Map and see where the train can take you!

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Star:Line Chicago

Promoting suburban-focused solutions for transit

The other half of The Yard Social Club is Star:Line (Supportive Transit for All Riders: Leisure, Infrequent, New, and Experienced) Chicago, our advocacy group for suburban transit riders. We advocate for common-sense improvements to make the suburban Chicago transit network stronger and more reliable through our Diverging Approach blog and social networking events for transportation professionals, transportation advocates, and transportation users.

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Train Crawl Resources

Getting Started

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.

The Ultimate Train Crawl Map

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.

Weekend Guides and Train Schedules

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.

Train Crawl Schedule Archive

Grab one of our off-the-shelf full train crawl schedules from our previous outings.

Crawl Concierge

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.

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Maps and Schedules

The Map

Just about every bar within walking distance of a weekend Metra station. Explore the map, or open on your mobile device for an interactive guide to bars while you’re on your train crawl.

Weekend Guides

Print one of our Weekend Guides out for your next crawl. Includes weekend schedules, transfer information, fares, recommended venues, and more.

A/B Union Pacific North
C Union Pacific Northwest
E Union Pacific West
G Milwaukee North
J Milwaukee West
M/N BNSF Railway
Q SouthWest Service
R/S Rock Island
U Metra Electric – Suburban Main Line
V Metra Electric – City Main/Blue Island
W Metra Electric – South Chicago Branch

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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’re launching STAR:LINE Chicago, a new 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 bus service, but north-south transit connectivity through the suburbs is still sorely lacking.)

We’ll keep you posted on our efforts through the Diverging Approach blog and through our new Facebook page. Join us as we fight to make the suburbs more livable!

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Diverging Approach

The way to really blog.

Diverging Approach: Carrots and Sticks

Pace, like the rest of Chicago’s transportation agencies, faces some daunting capital funding challenges. However, Pace is doing something quite savvy: today, which also happened to be J.B. Pritzker’s inauguration, Pace got two pretty positive write-ups in both of Chicago’s newspapers of record, despite asking for $1 billion in new capital funding, posting a 3% … Continue reading Diverging Approach: Carrots and Sticks

Diverging Approach: Home for the Holidays

Tonight I took Metra home. Not like going-home-from-work home, but going-to-the-house-I-grew-up-in-for-Christmas home. It’s not unusual for me to take Metra back to Itasca; I’m a bonafide weekend regular at Tree Guys. But on Christmas Eve, it’s always a special trip. (My wife has the car and is visiting her family out in Carol Stream tonight; … Continue reading Diverging Approach: Home for the Holidays