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It looks odd, but de-icer on L trains does the job

At first glance, it may appear a science experiment is taking place on your L car, but the odd machines taking up space on several trains running around the city Monday were built to de-ice the third rail before snow storms.

“We’ll set up these machines before a snow storm on the last cars of various trains,” said CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase. A CTA worker stands by as a machine administers de-icing fluid to the third rail through a tube.

The operation takes place behind a sign hanging across the aisle reading: “No entry, this equipment is being used to melt ice on the third rail.

“Up to six inches of snow is expected to fall on the Chicago area beginning about 6 p.m. Monday.

“The set up is pretty odd looking if you haven’t seen it before, but we need to put it somewhere,” Chase said of the de-icing apparatus.

Extra CTA crews will also be on hand Monday to ensure switches are operating properly. And elevators and CTA stations will be tested every hour. You don’t want customers to get stuck in an elevator in these temperatures,” Chase said.