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Tens of Thousands of Chicago Metra Commuters May Be Blocked by Signage Problems at Union Station



Tens of thousands of workers in downtown Chicago may have to find another way to get home tonight because of the Amtrak signal problem.

Metra advises people leaving Union Station to consider alternative routes, as an Amtrak signal issue that disrupted morning commutes was still not resolved early this afternoon.

All railway lines operating from Union Station are involved, including Metra BNSF, Milwaukee West District and North Milwaukee District, Heritage Corridor, North Central and Southwest. Amtrak trains from Chicago have also been delayed.

"People have to be careful and expect that even if they solve this problem, there will be residual delays," said Metra spokeswoman Meg Thomas-Reile. "This takes lots of time."

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in an email that a communication problem with the automated system is forcing the passenger railway to use manual controls, and that repairs are being done. course.

Some riders who usually use the West Milwaukee District may be able to use the Union Pacific West line to the western suburbs, which starts at Ogilvie Station. The Rock Island line could be an alternative for some passengers in the heritage corridor, said Thomas-Reile. The CTA is also an option for some travelers.

Some passengers on this morning's trains experienced delays of more than two hours. Brian Pitts of La Grange Park, who takes the BNSF, congratulated Metra's orchestra conductor for regular updates and water distribution within two hours and twenty minutes.

Pitts said in an email that he understood that railways can not help delays caused by dead or cars going around the gates. "But why can not they understand the signals and disconnect?" Asked Pitts.

Thursday's delays add to Metra's multiple delays over the last few months, including weather-related breakdowns during two days of unusual cold, equipment problems, overcrowding and air conditioning issues. on the BNSF during the summer and problems related to positive train control, a new system designed to prevent accidents.

mwisniewski@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @marywizchicago


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