Milwaukee District / North Line

The Milwaukee District / North Line (MD-N) is a Metra commuter rail line in Chicago, Illinois, and its northern suburbs. Although Metra does not refer to any of its lines by color, the timetable accents for the Milwaukee District / North line are pale "Hiawatha Orange" in honor of the Milwaukee Road's Hiawatha passenger trains.[2]

Milwaukee District / North Line
Metra City of Woodstock in Deerfield.jpg
EMD F40PH #120 leads an outbound train at Deerfield
TypeCommuter rail
TerminiUnion Station
Fox Lake
Daily ridership23,257 (Avg. Weekday 2014)[1]
OwnerMetra (Dispatched primarily by CP south of Rondout)
Operator(s)Metra, CP (South of Rondout), and WSOR
Line length49.7 miles (80.0 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map

73.6 mi
118.4 km
67.3 mi
108.3 km
57.5 mi
92.5 km
55.8 mi
89.8 km
Solon Mills
53.8 mi
86.6 km
Spring Grove
49.4 mi
79.5 km
Fox Lake
47.8 mi
76.9 km
47.0 mi
75.6 km
Wilson Road
46.1 mi
74.2 km
Long Lake
44.2 mi
71.1 km
Round Lake
41.0 mi
66 km
39.8 mi
64.1 km
Prairie Crossing
35.5 mi
57.1 km
Chicago River (north branch)
Empire Builder
to Seattle or Portland
Hiawatha Service
to Milwaukee
North Shore Bike Path
32.3 mi
52 km
Chicago River (north branch)
28.4 mi
45.7 km
Lake Forest
24.6 mi
39.6 km
23.4 mi
37.7 km
Lake Cook Road
21.0 mi
33.8 km
20.2 mi
32.5 km
18.5 mi
29.8 km
North Glenview
17.4 mi
28 km
Glenview Amtrak
15.4 mi
24.8 km
Chicago River (north branch)
14.6 mi
23.5 km
Morton Grove
11.5 mi
18.5 km
Chicago River (north branch)
10.2 mi
16.4 km
Forest Glen
Chicago Transit Authority Logo.svg
9.2 mi
14.8 km
8.3 mi
13.4 km
7.5 mi
12.1 km
NCS to Antioch
MD-W to Elgin
Coach Yard
2.9 mi
4.7 km
Western Avenue
UP-W to Elburn
UP-N to Kenosha
UP-NW to McHenry or Harvard
Chicago Transit Authority Logo.svg
Green Pink
0 mi
Union Station Amtrak
BNSF to Aurora
HC to Joliet
SWS to Manhattan

The line utilizes the Canadian Pacific Railway's C&M Subdivision. From Rondout to Fox Lake, the line is single tracked, with the exception of Grayslake.


Metra is the primary user of the line, with commuter services operating between Union Station and Fox Lake. As of 2018, the public timetable shows 30 weekday departures to Chicago, with 18 running through to Fox Lake. Of the 12 trains not running to Fox Lake, six terminate at Deerfield, five at Grayslake, and one at Lake Forest. The public timetable also shows 30 trains heading in to Chicago of which 18 start at Fox Lake. Of the 12 that do not start at Fox Lake, seven start at Deerfield and five start at Grayslake. NCS train #120 is also shown on the timetable as it makes stops at Libertyville and Lake Forest. Metra operates a reduced schedule on weekends.[3] This service is supplemented by Amtrak, whose Empire Builder and Hiawatha Service inter-city trains stop at Union Station and Glenview. Metra began increased reverse-commute service on the North Line on March 4, 2019. This service is part of a pilot-program funded under a two-year, public-private partnership (P3).[4]


Before the 1970s, this line was the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road). With the demise of the Milwaukee Road, ownership eventually passed to Metra. Today this service is one of several Metra routes operated by Metra crews, but trains are dispatched, under contract, by the Canadian Pacific Railway, which bought the Milwaukee Road in 1986 along with the Soo Line in 1990 and runs freight service over parts of this route.

The Milwaukee District/North Line route and Metra's track ownership diverges from the Chicago - Milwaukee - Minneapolis mainline at Rondout, Illinois and proceeds northwesterly toward Fox Lake. This secondary route, owned by Metra, was known as the Janesville Subdivision (J-Sub) of the Milwaukee Road. The mainline north of Rondout is owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP).[5] Metra service and track ownership ends at Fox Lake. The tracks beyond Fox Lake are owned by the State of Wisconsin and operated for freight service by the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad. Commuter service beyond Fox Lake, abolished in 1982, served the communities of Spring Grove, Illinois, Solon Mills, Illinois, Zenda, Wisconsin, and Walworth, Wisconsin.[6]

Until 1984, there was a stop in Rondout. The station building itself was demolished in the mid-1960s. The station was located at Rondout Junction, where the line crosses the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway's tracks at a diamond junction.[7]

There is also talk of constructing a second branch, running along the Canadian Pacific main line from Rondout north to Wadsworth and Kenosha County, Wisconsin.[8]


Since 2014 annual ridership has declined from 7.2 million to 6.6 million, an overall decline of 8.7%.[9]



Zone Station Municipality County Notes
O Walworth Walwort, Wis. Walworth Closed October 1, 1982
N Zenda Zenda, Wis. Closed October 1, 1982
N/A Richmond Richmond, Ill. McHenry proposed new stop
K Solon Mills Solon Mills Closed October 1, 1982; planned to reopen[citation needed]
Spring Grove Spring Grove Closed October 1, 1982; planned to reopen[citation needed]
J Fox Lake Fox Lake Lake Connections:
  Pace buses: 570 Fox Lake-CLC and 806 Crystal Lake-Fox Lake
Ingleside Ingleside Connections:
  Pace buses: 570 Fox Lake-CLC
Wilson Road Long Lake Closed 1984[10]
Long Lake
I Round Lake Round Lake Connections:
  Pace buses: 570 Fox Lake-CLC
Grayslake Grayslake Connections:
  Pace buses: 570 Fox Lake-CLC
H Prairie Crossing Libertyville Connections:
  Metra trains:      North Central Service
G Rondout Rondout Closed 1984[10]
F Lake Forest Lake Forest
E Deerfield Deerfield Connections:
  Pace buses: 471 Highland Park/Deerfield and 632 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 2
Lake Cook Road Cook Connections:
  Pace buses: 626 Skokie Valley Limited, 627 Discover-Takeda Shuttle Bug, 631 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 1, 632 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 2, 633 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 3, 634 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 4, and 635 Lake Cook Shuttle Bug 5
Northbrook Northbrook Connections
  Pace buses: 422 Linden CTA/Glenview/Northbrook Court
N/A Techny Techny Closed
D North Glenview Glenview Connections:
  Pace buses: 423 Linden CTA/The Glen/Harlem CTA and 623 Glen of North Glenview-Metra Station/Willow Road Corridor
Glenview Connections:
  Amtrak trains: Empire Builder and Hiawatha Service
  Pace buses: 210 Lincoln Avenue, 422 Linden CTA/Glenview/Northbrook Court, and 423 Linden CTA/The Glen/Harlem CTA
Golf Golf Connections:
  Pace buses: 208 Golf Road and 210 Lincoln Avenue
C Morton Grove Morton Grove Connections:
  Pace buses: 210 Lincoln Avenue and 250 Dempster Street
Edgebrook Chicago Connections:
  CTA buses: 85A North Central
  Pace buses: 225 Central/Howard and 226 Oakton Street
Forest Glen Connections:
  CTA buses: 92 Foster
B Mayfair Connections:
  CTA "L" trains:      Blue Line (at Montrose)
  CTA buses: 54 Cicero, 54A North Cicero/Skokie Blvd, and 78 Montrose
Grayland Connections:
  CTA buses: 56 Milwaukee and 152 Addison
Healy Connections:
  CTA buses: 53 Pulaski and 74 Fullerton
A Western Avenue Connections:
  Metra trains:      Milwaukee District / West and      North Central Service
  CTA buses: 49 Western, X49 Western Express, and 65 Grand
Union Station Connections:
 Amtrak trains: California Zephyr, City of New Orleans, Empire Builder, Hiawatha Service, Illini and Saluki, Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Lake Shore Limited, Pere Marquette, Wolverine, Blue Water, and Lincoln Service
  Metra trains:      Milwaukee District / West,      North Central Service,      BNSF Railway,      Heritage Corridor, and      SouthWest Service
  CTA "L" trains:      Blue Line (at Clinton),      Brown Line,      Orange Line,      Pink Line, and      Purple Line (at Quincy)
  CTA buses: 1 Bronzeville/Union Station, 7 Harrison, J14 Jeffery Jump, 19 United Center Express, 28 Stony Island, 56 Milwaukee, 60 Blue Island/26th, 120 Ogilvie/Streeterville Express, 121 Union/Streeterville Express, 124 Navy Pier, 125 Water Tower Express, 126 Jackson, 128 Soldier Field Express, 130 Museum Campus, 151 Sheridan, 156 LaSalle, 157 Streeterville/Taylor, 192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express
  Pace buses: 755 Plainfield/IMD/West Loop Express
  Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach: Chicago-Madison and Chicago-Rockford (via Van Galder), Chicago-Louisville (via Greyhound)


  1. ^ "Milwaukee District North Line Weekday Ridership". Regional Transportation Authority Mapping and Statistics (RTAMS). Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  2. ^ "Did you know?" (PDF). On the Bi-Level: 3. June 2009.
  3. ^ "Chicago to Fox Lake" (PDF). Metra. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 August 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Metra to begin reverse-commute service from Chicago to Lake County". Progressive Railroading. February 22, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Metra Railfan Tips - Milwaukee District/North Line
  6. ^ Chicago's Lost Stations - Milwaukee Road Suburban Service; North Timetable (November 14, 1971)
  7. ^ Chicago's Lost Stations - Milwaukee Road Chicago-Fox Lake
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "RIDERSHIP TRENDS ANNUAL REPORT 2018" (PDF). Metra. p. 4. Retrieved 12 May 2019.

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

  Media related to Metra Milwaukee District/North Line at Wikimedia Commons