CHICAGO (AP) – Rush hour started early in Chicago as commuters sought to beat the worst of an incoming snowstorm.

Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet says people began pouring into downtown train stations at around 2 p.m. Tuesday – hours earlier than rush hour normally starts.

There also appeared to be more cars on city roads by early afternoon.

Pardonnet says Metra sent in extra trains to accommodate the sudden influx. But she says they’d fill up within just minutes, leaving behind hundreds of people on the platforms.

She says the crowds began to thin after around 4 p.m.

Pardonnet says Metra is taking other precautions to ensure trains run smoothly. That includes running locomotives up and down some lines all night so snow doesn’t accumulate on the tracks.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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