A South Shore Line train being pulled by freight locomotive at Gary on Thursday. (Credit: Bob Roberts)

A South Shore Line train being pulled by freight locomotive at Gary on Thursday. (Credit: Bob Roberts)

UPDATE: Normal Service on the South Shore Line resumed Friday morning.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Trains were running on a limited basis Thursday after weather was blamed for shutting down the South Shore Line.

Ice on overhead electric lines stopped several trains literally in their tracks.

Riders trying to get into the city found themselves sitting on trains for six or seven hours. Eventually, a decision was made to return them to their originating stations. And even then it was taking hours to get them back to where they started.

One commuter who has been riding the South Shore for nearly 20 years said it “was absolutely the worst day on the train” after being stranded on the southeast side around 111th Street for hours. Eventually a diesel engine pushed the train back east to originating stations in Hegewisch and Northwest Indiana.

“I’ve taken it in much worse [conditions] with maybe an hour or so delay. Nothing like this. Trains literally could not move.”

By 10 a.m. service had been suspended until further notice. Officials said they hoped to resume the South Shore schedule later in the afternoon.

Freezing rain was falling across Chicago on Thursday morning, causing delays on other lines. However, no other train system was forced to suspend service. Metra Electric, which uses similar equipment and even the same tracks in some places, reported delays but nothing close to the scale on the South Shore.

The train line that serves Northwest Indiana and the southeast side of Chicago was posting updates via social media.


Frustrated commuters were posting, too

“I am one of those passengers! Seven hours on the train,” Beth Mendoza wrote on Facebook.

“Sitting on train still, how about a cheeseburger or a bus ride back to Miller [train station in Gary],” wrote Ryan Miraglia, “You guys doing anything for the passengers still stranded?”

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” the South Shore said. “The safety of our riders is our top priority, and this ice storm created unsafe conditions outside of our control.”