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Cold Causes Metra Cancellations, CTA Closures, Crashes

By Quinn Ford | January 7, 2014 8:00am | Updated on January 7, 2014 10:22am
 Metra canceled 25 trains Tuesday morning due to "continued hazardous weather conditions."
Metra canceled 25 trains Tuesday morning due to "continued hazardous weather conditions."
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CHICAGO — The subzero temperatures continued to cause big problems for morning commuters driving or taking public transportation Tuesday.

Metra canceled 25 trains early Tuesday, affecting riders on the BNSF Railway and the Union Pacific North, Northwest and West lines, a spokeswoman said.

The BNSF railway, which runs from Aurora to Chicago, is the most heavily affected. Nine inbound trains and five outbound trains were canceled because of "continued hazardous weather conditions," according to Metra.

A number of inbound trains on the Union Pacific lines also were canceled. Four trains on the Union Pacific North Line, four trains on the Union Pacific Northwest Line and three Union Pacific West Line trains were canceled, Metra announced.

No outbound trains on the Union Pacific lines were affected as of early Tuesday. More cancellations or schedule changes may come during the day, a spokeswoman said.

CTA trains also experienced weather delays, the agency said.

About 7:15 a.m., "major delays" were reported on the Brown Line due to door problem on a train at the Quincy stop. CTA officials said trains are moving, but riders should allow extra times for their commutes.

Just before 5 a.m. Tuesday, a water pipe burst at the Chicago Avenue Red Line stop, CTA spokesman Steve Mayberry said. The water froze, causing the northbound platform to become too icy for riders, Mayberry said.

As of 7 a.m., workers had resolved the problem, and northbound trains resumed making stops at the Chicago Avenue station.

But CTA officials warned travelers that Red Line trains were operating with "residual delays" Tuesday morning, also noting a door problem on a train at the 35th Street station.

Delays were also reported on the Blue and Green lines early Tuesday morning. Service is running on both of those lines, but CTA officials are advising riders to allow extra time for travel.

Those who took to the roads faced multiple spinouts and crashes on most local expressways, State Police said.

As of Tuesday morning, no serious injuries had been reported, though there were plenty of damaged cars, State Police Master Sgt. S. Nowak said

"There's a lot of black ice," Nowak said. "Drivers have to maintain a safe distance between vehicles to allow for extra time and slow down."

Amtrak trains are also experiencing delays and cancellations in Chicago and throughout the Midwest, said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

Travelers planning to catch an Amtrak train can check for updates on the corporations's website.

That news comes after three Amtrak trains were forced to stop Monday night almost 90 miles outside of Chicago due to the weather, causing more than 500 passengers to be stranded aboard the trains.

The trains stopped about 3:15 p.m. Monday near Mendota, Illinois. The tracks, which pass through a trench-like area, were blocked by snow and ice, Magliari said.

Two of trains were coming to Chicago from California. The Southwest Chief, which began in Los Angeles, had 244 passengers aboard. The California Zephyr, coming from San Francisco, had 217 passengers.

A third train, the Illinois Zephyr, was heading to Chicago from Quincy, Illinois and had 60 passengers on board.

No injuries were reported for the hours the three trains were stranded, Magliari said, and Amtrak began transporting the stranded travelers by bus to Chicago.

By about 7 a.m., buses began arriving in the city and Magliari said all of the trains' passengers should be in Chicago by Tuesday afternoon.

Contributing: Emily Morris