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How The CTA Keeps Running In The Worst Of Winter

By Joe Ward | December 9, 2016 2:33pm
 CTA is gearing up for the winter.
CTA is gearing up for the winter.
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CHICAGO — With winter weather settling in for good, commutes are about to become a bit more difficult. But don't worry, the CTA is here for you.

Though Chicago is bracing for a frigid and snowy winter, CTA said it's fleet of trains and buses is able to operate in even the harshest of weather. Here's how the transit agency gets ready for the winter:

Rail service

Like the streets, sidewalks and everywhere else, L tracks become snow-covered and impassable during snow storms. But yet, the L rarely shuts down during storms.

That's because the CTA uses four diesel-powered snow removers, which include snow blowers, third rail brushes and a "snow broom" attached to the rear train car. This equipment is only used during extreme storms, and other cars come equipped with plows that can clear the tracks.

RELATED: With 50+ Inches Of Snow Expected This Winter, Here's How To Prepare

Each L car has a "sleet scraper" that can be deployed to clear the electrified third rail during snow events, CTA said. Some cars are also equipped with special equipment that sprays deicer fluid onto the third rail.

Also, the CTA can turn on heaters that keep track switches warm during freezing weather.

CTA's snow-removal trains [Provided/CTA]

Bus service

All buses undergo a winter inspection prior to the cold season, CTA said. That includes checking heaters, engine thermostats and batteries and making sure windows and roof hatches close properly.

Buses also have "pre-heaters" that help the bus's engine warm up faster, in turn warming the bus's interior faster, CTA said.

Customer service

All 120 outdoor L stations are equipped with overhead heaters that run from Nov. 1 to April 31. CTA employees also work to clear the stations of ice and snow using salt and sand.

To keep up with service changes caused by winter weather, sign up for real-time alerts at transitchicago.com/alerts. The CTA also keeps commuters up to date on service disruptions at its Twitter account.



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