CHICAGO (CBS) — After a solid performance in its first major winter weather test on Tuesday, Metra’s top official said the commuter rail agency has been spending what it takes to keep the system running as smoothly as possible during the bitter cold.

Metra Executive Director Donald Orseno said he’s pretty satisfied with the way trains ran during the morning rush, after the Chicago area got 2 to 4 inches of snow, and temperatures dipped to as low as 4 below zero.

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Crews kept trains running overnight so they were ready for the Tuesday morning commute. Orseno said the extra fuel is costly, but not that costly, and it’s an old tactic.

“This is something we do when the weather gets certain temperatures. It probably costs several thousand dollars to do it, but to keep things in perspective, radiators for a typical locomotive – if you have to replace the whole radiator bank – that’s around $30,000,” he said.

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Orseno said he’s fairly confident about the coming days, when frigid temperatures will continue to test Metra’s ability to keep track switches free of ice, so trains can run on time.

He said crews keeping switches working and new fueling and snow-blowing methods in use this year are helping to avoid last winter’s problems as much as possible. In some cases last winter, trains were delayed nearly three hours, and dozens of trains were canceled altogether, after rail switches became jammed with ice.

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Metra has since installed switch heaters throughout the system, and also uses controlled fires to keep switches clear of ice.