Cold Temperatures Wreak Havoc on Chicago Rails

Sub-zero temperatures made it hard for switches to move portions of train tracks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Monday wasn't a good day for commuters on Chicago's rail systems as the region dealt with a record-breaking cold snap.

    The Chicago Transit Authority, Metra and Amtrak all reported service delays. The agencies said the excessive cold caused problems with switching systems.

    "It was horrible. I ride Metra in from the suburbs and I live downtownm, and the train ahead of us broke down, so we all had to abandon ship and a friend actually had to pick us up, so I'm jumping on the Blue Line now," said Dan Stelter, one of hundreds of people left at Union Station on Monday evening after Metra and Amtrak trains were canceled or delayed.

    Additionally, an inbound Rock Island Metra train struck a bumping post at the end of the platform at the LaSalle Street station, prompting an ambulance response. Train 412 did not derail but six people were transported to nearby hospitals. None of the injuries were serious.

    On the CTA, all trains and buses were operating, but all of the rail lines experienced delays, some significant. Shuttle buses were used between the Linden and Howard stations and between the Davis and Howard stations on the Purple Line.

    CTA CEO Forrest Claypool said there were only a "few isolated delays due to the weather" on city trains and buses Monday.

    "CTA crews are dispatched throughout the system to monitor and troubleshoot any problems, and will be able to respond quickly to any issues that arise," he said.

    Claypool rged commuters to stay up to date on train and bus arrival information at transitchicago.com, @cta on Twitter or via text email alerts.

    Amtrak modified Monday's service to and from Chicago in advance of the dangerous cold. Still, one Detroit to Chicago train was roughly eight hours late getting into the Windy City after problems forced the train to halt in western Michigan.

    Officials said service would not normalize until Wednesday.

    "On Tuesday, we're going to run about half the normal service between Chicago and Milwaukee. We're going to run pretty much 80 percent of the service between Chicago and St. Louis," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.

    Travelers were reminded that Amtrak.com or 800-USA-RAIL would have the most up-to-date information.

    In Northwest Indiana, South Shore commuter rail service was expected to resume on Tuesday, after trains were canceled Monday. Northern Indiana Commuter Rail Line representatives said Monday that Metra will honor South Shore tickets on its line in Illinois.