Metra warns riders to allow extra time for Monday commute - FOX 35 News Orlando

Metra warns riders to allow extra time for Monday commute

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(Photo courtesy of Craig Wall) (Photo courtesy of Craig Wall)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Metra warned riders on Friday to allow extra time on Monday because of another wave of sub-zero cold heading our way.

Metra said it's learned a few lessons from the vexing problems that happened during the polar vortex two weeks ago.

Snow and cold caused massive delays on Metra earlier this month. Extreme weather can create conditions that disrupt service. Metra said its staff will do their best to reduce delays and inconvenience to passengers.

The commuter rail said trains will be operating at reduced speeds because of concerns about equipment and switches that could freeze up. Metra will have extra engineering and mechanical personnel in the field over the weekend to make sure things are in working order as best they can be to prepare for Monday's commute.

The announcement also urges riders to exercise caution on station platforms and while getting on and off trains when conditions are slick. Metra said cold weather can lead to slower boarding, which means trains may have to stop at stations for a bit longer than usual.

But despite changes that will be in place Monday morning, Metra warns that there is only so much they can do when dealing with the sub-zero temperatures in the forecast.

Commuters hustled to trains Friday night, anxious to get out of the cold and on their way home. Yet, Monday may leave them cold yet again, and frustrated and late.

"Right now we're saying 10-15 minutes and we're just warning them that there could be unanticipated conditions that might lead to other disruptions and we just want them to be prepared for that," Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.

After having to deal with significant delays and cancellations two weeks ago during the last sub-zero blast, the news didn't sit too well with some commuters.

"If it's that cold again, and there are really severe delays I might just call in," commuter Brendan Cunningham said.

"I feel almost kinda cheated, I spend a lot of money, I commute to college and back every day and I mean I feel like I'm not getting the service that I'm paying for," University of Illinois student, Alex Mathew, said.

On Monday January 6th, when the bitter cold made delays seem the norm, Metra sent out 261 alerts, compared to the usual 29.

"We are taking steps to prepare, we have extra engineering people in the field, manning our critical switches to keep them clear of any snow or ice that may accumulate over the weekend 56 we have extra mechanical people in the field to keep the locomotives and trains ready to roll Monday morning," Gillis said.

They have also learned some lessons, prompting them to keep trains running through the weekend to keep them warm.

Riders are preparing for potential problems.

"Be stuck on the train and bring some reading material (about all you can do?) About all you can do," Danielle Pizur, who commutes from Long Lake, said.

" Well you know I'll just try to get up earlier for work, either way I gotta get to work, so you know, you just need to roll with it," commuter Brendan Cunningham said.

Metra asks commuters to keep an eye on their official website, electronic alerts and various Twitter accounts for weather communications over the weekend and on Monday.

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