Metra trains delayed due to possible lightning strike

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Passengers on a Metra train headed toward Kenosha, Wis., were evacuated after lightning possibly hit the train. (WLS)

Metra trains on the Union Pacific North line ran late in both directions Tuesday morning after lightning possibly struck an outbound train or nearby tracks on Chicago's North Side.

Passengers headed toward Kenosha, Wis., were delayed at least an hour.

Passengers on Train No. 309 told ABC7 Eyewitness News they heard a loud bolt before their train stopped in the 7000-block of North Ravenswood Avenue in the Rogers Park neighborhood around 7 a.m. No one was hurt, officials said.

Metra posted an alert on its website Tuesday morning that said outbound and inbound UP-North trains were delayed due to a signal failure caused by a lightning strike.

However, Metra officials said Tuesday afternoon that it was not confirmed that the mechanical issue was caused by a lightning strike. Lightning hitting a train is not unheard of, but is very rare, officials said.

Commuters waited on the packed train for about 45 minutes before they were forced to evacuate. However, they had a good story to tell.

"I sat down, then there was a crack of thunder and the lights went out and I told the neighbor next to me, 'I bet we just got hit by lightning,'" said passenger Scott Rothenberg.

Laurie Zapata, a passenger on the train, had to call her boss to say she would not make it to work on time.

"You heard lightning in the area, but didn't know that, if it actually hit the train or if it hit the rail. But it killed the train and all of the signals," said Zapata.

Train No. 311 was dispatched to connect with Train No. 309. The combined train operated 70-80 minutes behind schedule. It ran express from Rogers Park to Highland Park. Train No. 315 made intermediate stops to Highland Park.

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trafficmetratraffic delaylightningChicago - Rogers ParkHighland ParkWinnetkaWilmette
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