CHICAGO (CBS) — Friday’s two-hour weather delay for Metra commuters has many still fuming.
Legal Accountant Katherine Letourner said her Union Pacific North Line train remained motionless for an hour on Friday evening at North and Clybourn–long after the storms had passed.
She said “it’s crazy” not to let the engineers, conductors and Metra local officials decide whether they can safely proceed to the next stop.
The delay also posed an extra hardship for Orthodox Jews who don’t take motorized transportation after sundown Friday.
Some had to walk long distances home rather than violate their religious principles.
“I wanna say we’re sorry for the inconvenience we caused our customers. We don’t take that lightly,” said interim Metra Executive Director Don Orsenio.
Union Pacific runs Metra trains from its command post in Omaha, Neb.
Railroad spokesman Mark Davis said UP ordered Metra trains to stop when the National Weather Service issued a high-wind advisory.
He said Union Pacific passenger safety rules require system-wide compliance when bad weather hits, and it can’t be contingent on decisions by a host of local railroad workers.
According to the national weather service the storm with dangerous winds arrived on UP’s Northwest Line, at 5:30 and was gone by 5:50. Yet all trains were halted from 5:15 to 7:30.
There were dangerous winds On the North line, from 5:52 until 6:05. On the West Line, they were never a threat, but all trains were delayed from , but all trains were delayed from 5:15 to 7:30, even though all other public transportation operated normally.
Orsenio says Metra is working with Union Pacific to install wind gauges like those that Burlington Northern have, but it has no power to require them. Which could mean more bad weather delays for Union Pacific commuters.