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updated: 2/16/2010 3:58 PM

Stalled train causes early morning headaches in Glen Ellyn, Wheaton

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Union Pacific officials still are trying to determine what caused a freight train to stall for several hours Tuesday morning in Glen Ellyn and Wheaton, creating headaches for early morning commuters.

Spokesman Mark Davis said the mechanical failure stopped the two-mile-long train about 3:20 a.m. Nearly five hours later, at 8:15 a.m., mechanical crews moved the front part of the train into the Proviso rail yard in Northlake about 10 miles east of its initial failure.

In the meantime, vehicle and pedestrian traffic was blocked for hours at Prospect Drive, Main Street and Park Avenue in Glen Ellyn, officials said. The disabled train also shut down the crossings at President Street and College Road in Wheaton.

The stoppage caused massive problems on Metra commutes in and out of Glen Ellyn.

Metra officials said commuters could not board inbound trains from the south side of the Glen Ellyn station, while the outbound platform was accessible to commuters on the south side.

Commuters also were able to board trains in either Lombard or at Wheaton's College Avenue station, but Metra officials said the number of displaced riders forced others to wait for empty trains before making the commute to Chicago.

"We are really sorry for any inconvenience we caused to the morning commute," Davis said. "It is something for us to find out what caused the mechanical failure because it helps us in trying to alleviate them in the future."

The investigation will continue; Davis did not estimate how long it might take to determine what happened. The train was carrying mixed freight from North Platte, Neb., to the yard in Northlake.

Davis said locomotives generally go through a diagnostics check before and after any long run.

• Daily Herald Staff Writer Lee Filas contributed to this report.