CTA, Metra and Amtrak service disrupted amid dangerously cold Chicago weather

ByDiane Pathieu, John Garcia, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
CTA, Metra and Amtrak service disrupted amid dangerously cold weather
A CTA Orange Line train derailment disrupted service on Monday. Switch issues are causing Metra delays, and Amtrak cancellations left some stranded.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some CTA, Metra and Amtrak trains are seeing service disruptions on Monday during dangerously cold Chicago weather.

CTA derailment causes service suspension, delays

A train derailment disrupted service on the CTA Orange Line on Monday morning.

The derailment itself was minor, and no one was injured. There were 20 passengers on board, and those who use the line regularly had to wait around for shuttle buses in the cold.

"Very inconvenient, I have to get to work and I don't drive so it's always something with the CTA," commuter Aaron Reed said. "Either it's not on time, the operators are not very nice, or you are waiting in this weather especially when you don't have car."

CTA workers were on the tracks investigating the derailment and trying to get things back on the move as fast as possible, but still it came at a bad time for morning commuters.

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"The Orange Line it's 20 minutes at the most, and the buses take 30-45 and it's cold outside, so it's bad," commuter Eva Gonzalez said.

At one point, Orange Line service was temporarily suspended between Western and Adams/Wabash. The Orange Line was back up and running on-schedule later Monday.

Switch problems, derailment cause Metra delays

Meanwhile, Metra said inbound and outbound Milwaukee District North and West trains were stopped near Union Station due to switch problems in the cold on Monday afternoon.

Some inbound and outbound trains were back on the move by 4 p.m. They are operating with extensive delays due to ongoing Amtrak switch and signal problems on Monday evening, Metra said.

Metra later said it can only provide limited service on Monday night on the Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, North Cental Service and Heritage Corridor lines.

WATCH: Crews set fire to train tracks amid sub-zero temperatures

Crews have set fire to Metra train tracks near Union Station amid dangerously cold Chicago weather.

Trains will not be operating on their regular schedules. Instead, Metra will try to provide hourly service on each line, with each train making all stops to the last stop on the lines.

Metra asked passengers to pay close attention to platform gate boards and announcements from station personnel when they arrive at Union Station.

"We've been trying to minimize delays, but we can't compete with Mother Nature," said Metra spokesperson Martha Hill.

A Metra BNSF train derailed at Union Station on Sunday evening, Hill said.

No one was injured in the derailment, and another train is taking the passengers to Aurora.

BNSF inbound and outbound trains may be operating up to 35 minutes behind schedule due to the derailment, Metra said.

Amtrak trains canceled due to weather

And Amtrak trains have been canceled due to the cold weather, leaving some travelers stranded in Chicago.

Ruth Eddy and Dan Henkus said they had never been to Chicago until the last few days. They said it's a beautiful city, but they are not here by choice.

Amtrak is putting them and other stranded passengers up at a nice hotel just off Michigan Avenue on the Chicago River.

"We got into Chicago to discover that we were canceled. Figured it would be a day or two, and we would be going home, and that was the 11th. We're still here, and we will be until Thursday, apparently," Dan said.

They were in Jacksonville, Florida for the holidays and planned to return home to Vancouver, Washington last week. Then, the snowstorm hit, dumping tons of snow on the tracks along the route.

That was followed by the bitter cold this week. It means they are not likely to be able to continue the route back to Washington until, possibly, Thursday.

"They say because of the weather, we can't go home, because they're looking out for our safety, and so we really appreciate that," Ruth said.

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