A Metra Electric train rides along 71st Street in South Shore on Aug. 19, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Metra service will not be interrupted Thursday as a potential rail strike has been averted.

A pair of unions representing 57,000 conductors and engineers came to a tentative agreement early Thursday with the U.S. Department of Labor after 20 consecutive hours of negotiations, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a tweet.

The once-looming work stoppage had Metra officials making plans to halt service Thursday night on four Chicago-area commuter lines owned and operated by freight railroads: BNSF, Union Pacific North, Union Pacific Northwest and Union Pacific West. 

All service will now run as scheduled, according to a statement Metra posted to its Facebook page.

“We are greatly relieved that we will be able to continue to provide the safe and reliable service that you deserve and that you rely upon,” Metra said in its Thursday morning statement. “Please accept our apologies for this week of uncertainty and anxiety, and our thanks for your patience and understanding.”

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