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Metra prepares trains to handle snow, extreme cold

Metra officials braced for a “fine” snow and extreme cold by Tuesday morning — reminiscent of last year’s polar vortex — and outlined precautions to avoid last year’s problems.

Extra personnel will monitor critical switches round the clock, 20 new switch heaters are ready to fire up, and locomotives we be fueled at outlying stations at the end of Monday night’s run to prepare for predictions of three to six inches of snow by Tuesday morning — the one-year anniversary of the beginning of Chicago’s polar onslaught.

“Last year on the 5th (of January) they predicted six inches. We got hit with well over a foot,” recalled Metra Operation Chief Pete Zwolfer. “We are being extra cautious.”

New high speed snow blowers are ready and about 100 of more than 360 older train cars that experienced door problems during last year’s deep freeze have been overhauled, Metra CEO Don Orseno told reporters Monday.