This Is How the CTA Is Preparing For Potentially-Historic, Bitter Cold

From cold to REALLY cold, the CTA won't let you down!

January 28, 2019

(Photo by Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)


The weather has been nothing short of a nightmare when it comes to commuting to and from work this week. 

While many schools, museums, courts, and places of employment are shutting their doors or letting employees work from home ahead of the extreme cold, that luxury doesn't extend to everyone. 

The bitter cold expected to cover the Chicagoland area on Wednesday has the potential to break records with temperatures dropping as low as -13/day and -25/night with a wind chill of -50. 

Related: Best Ways to Stay Warm in This Ridiculously Cold Weather

Commuters will be happy to know that the CTA is putting in extra effort to make sure their trains are up and running. 

Credit: Dreamstime

The CTA will be adhering to their basic winter prep which includes turning on track switch heaters, checking heaters, engine thermostats and batteries, and making sure windows, roof hatches and doors close securely. 

All trains are also equipped with 'sleet scarpers' to keep the third rail clear of snow, sleet and ice, snowblades on cars, and special equipment on railcars that distributes deicer to the third rail.

However, they will be taking extra precautions to ensure smooth service. 

CTA's media representative Irene D. Ferradaz told us that " during and after severe winter weather, CTA crews are working around the clock to ensure buses and trains keep moving. Our crews were focused overnight and this morning on removing the several inches of snow Chicago received from our more than 100 elevated and at-grade rail stations."

They will also be adding staff to key rail junctions and terminals, moving switches overnight to prevent freezing, activating switch heaters at track level, and checking heat on all buses and railcars before they enter service.

While there's no telling what will happen when temps do drop to record-breaking lows, as of now, the CTA is "planning to operate on a normal weekday schedule on both Wednesday and Thursday."

Related: It's Colder In Chicago Than It Is On Mars, Alaska, and More

The CTA is doing their part, but commuters also have to be prepared for unexpected delays!

Make sure you bundle up by wearing plenty of layers, cover all exposed skin to avoid frostbite, take advantage of the CTAs heating lamps, DON'T run on the platforms (it's better to miss a train than break a limb), and give yourself ample time to get to and from your destination. 

(Photo by Steven Rosenberg/Chicago Tribune)

Due to the extreme cold expected Wednesday, Metra announced it will operate on its "Extreme Weather/Alternate" schedules.

The hope is that "reducing the use of mechanical equipment and the number of moves through switch points, thereby minimizing opportunities for service disruptions."

And if you have the opportunity, make sure you thank your train and bus operators for getting you to your destination safely!