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Metra Commuters Still Have Rough Ride After Last Week’s Brutal Weather

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CHICAGO (CBS) — While Metra is trying to put problems behind it, commuters are still experiencing extremely crowded trains in the wake of last week’s weather delays and cancellations.

And it’s more than just an inconvenience.

Commuters are angry, telling CBS 2’s Jim Williams that in many cases they’re getting on trains, only to be told to get off because they’re too crowded.

This on top of last week’s weather-related problems.

Now, officials are asking Metra to explain.

“People were standing in the vestibule, standing between chairs, seats,” said State Rep. Ron Sandack. “That’s inconvenient. People were left off the train cause it was filled.”

The trains are so packed because there are fewer cars in service. Metra says dozens were damaged by last week’s snow and ice.

According to Metra, three trains on the Rock Island line are short one car each, one train on the Milwaukee line is short two cars, one train on the BNSF line is short one car, one SouthWest Service is short a single car, three Union Pacific trains are short two cars and 26 trains are short one car.

A Metra spokesperson says crews are working extra shifts to bring cars back into service and their goal is be significantly caught up by Monday.

Donald Orseno Metra CEO said: “Are we going to work very very hard to get those cars back service? Absolutely we are, and that’s what we’re doing.”

But Chicago’s always had tough winters.

So many are wondering why Metra had service disruptions last week and broken cars now?

The chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority, John Gates, is looking for answers from Metra’s top bosses.

“We know that Metra staff worked hard to keep everything running, yet there were serious delays and problems,” an RTA spokeswoman said.

“Chairman Gates is directing RTA staff to look into several issues and report back as information becomes available.”

Sandack is calling for hearings in Springfield.

“Whether it’s administration, whether it’s operation, whether it’s infrastructure, whether it’s something else, I’d like to find out why we don’t have the kind of service we should have.”

Yesterday, Metra’s acting CEO predicted the broken cars should be back in service at the end of the week.

On Wednesday morning, a CBS 2 producer says a Metra conductor told passengers on his train that dozens of cars won’t be back on the tracks anytime soon.

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