Metra board discusses recent performance

Metra's recent performance was a hot topic at Friday's board meeting.
January 17, 2014 6:21:10 PM PST
Metra's recent performance was a hot topic at Friday's board meeting.

During the extreme cold and snow earlier this month, there were extensive delays and cancellations, especially on the Union Pacific and BNSF lines.

Communication was another issue for Metra during the brutal weather. In one incident, UP-Northwest passengers were left on an unheated outdoor platform for more than 30 minutes in subzero temperatures because the train suddenly switched to express service to Crystal Lake.

Metra's interim CEO apologized for the disruptions.

Metra board members and passengers want answers and UP officials just don't seem to have them. The biggest reason, rail line officials say, was there were problems on the tracks due to cold, wind and snow. The weather affects the trains' brake and switching systems.

Some of the Union Pacific trains are still out for repairs.

UP's regional vice president told the board new protocols are in place so that one person cannot make such a decision, and they are addressing ways to improve communication with riders.

The system's GPS center tracks trains and pushes out information to conductors and riders. Currently riders signed up for alerts are sent emails or Twitter gets updates. After last week, the commuter system's interim CEO says they need to do better communicating and they will in the future.