Metra CEO on weather woes: ‘It’s been a tough week’

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After last week’s severe weather caused numerous delays and cancelations, Metra passengers were delighted to see trains were running on time Tuesday.

“Last week was a bit of mess but I’m glad its over,” said Metra rider Shela Carden.

But its not over. Last week’s weather is still causing problems for Metra. Several Union Pacific Metra lines were a car or two short Tuesday.

“Getting off the train was a little bit of a mess. We were all packed in like sardines. It was uncomfortable but I made it to work,” Carden said.

Some stops were missed on those UP lines, possibly because the cars that were running were filled to capacity. Metra says the cold snow and ice took its toll on brakes, doors and even electrical and ventilation hoses. And the cars needed to be repaired.

When asked how long Metra expects to run shorter trains, interim director Don Orseno replied, “I would say with in the next couple days we should be backed up by Friday. Depending, of course, on how quickly we can get some of these things done.”

Orseno also took time to recap last weeks weather woes, again saying delays were caused by iced over switches, engine fuel not being delivered due to the weather and overall maintenance of the trains.

“It’s been a tough week,” Orseno said. “We are working on it.”

At an afternoon presentation at its headquarters, Metra says it was running at 90 percent throughout the week, canceling only 27 trains. However, Metra admitted communicating delays and cancelations was tough due the changing weather circumstances. It’s something they are looking to improve going forward, Orseno said.

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