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Metra Still Working On Cold-Related Problems That Hobbled Service This Week

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Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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(CBS) – Metra can’t guarantee it won’t have even more delays Friday because it is still dealing with this bitter blast.

The problem, once again: frozen switches on tracks.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker got a firsthand look.

Metra workers removed the snow and ice from switches used to keep trains on the right tracks.

It’s a slow process. The labor-intensive job of trying to clean 3,000 switches with only 200 employees is what Metra cites as the major cause of massive cancellations and delays during near record-breaking temperatures this week.

“And as soon as you get one done, the way the wind was blowing and drifting, before we got to the next switch that one was snowed back in again. So, you’re constantly going back and forth,” Metra maintenance official Larry Powell says.

Metra blames the snow-covered switches for 27 cancellations on Monday, 25 on Tuesday and scores of delays. While there were only 5 cancellations on Thursday, there were still 40 delays.

And angry commuters like Diana Joseph.

“Twice I have observed people being left, and I have been one of them, in the snow and cold, in minus seven degrees, for over an hour,” she says.

“We’re still recovering from a major winter event,” spokesperson Meg Reile says.

The delays are one thing; communications another.

Metra officials admit they failed to provide updates.

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