Metra Milwaukee West line delayed after wind takes down power line in Elgin

Metra riders taking trains on the Milwaukee District West Line should be able to travel as usual Thursday morning, after Wednesday's strong winds knocked a power line onto the railroad tracks near the Elgin train station, Metra officials said.

Gusty winds caused scattered power outages and downed power lines throughout Elgin and the Fox Valley area, delaying trains up to an hour.

Passengers were being bused between the Elgin and Big Timber stations, spokeswoman Meg Reile said, and Metra was trying to notify customers of the issue, especially before rush hour. Thursday's commuters can check for potential delays at

ComEd officials estimated work at the scene would be completed about 11 p.m. Wednesday Meanwhile, additional crews were asked to help replace the damaged pole.

Tom Wilder, who lives in an apartment adjacent to the tracks and the bus terminal, was home about noon when the power line fell. He said the pole broke and just missed hitting a van parked in the alleyway between the tracks and his building.

"We just heard a giant boom, and we had no idea what it was," said Wilder, who was watching the resulting commotion from his balcony overlooking the tracks. Elgin police and at least a dozen ComEd workers were on the scene throughout the afternoon.

Only one lane was open to traffic on the nearby Chicago Street bridge, which had been closed earlier. Elgin police encouraged drivers to use alternate routes.

Two poles are also down near Wendy's and Beef Villa in Elgin, causing the closure of Dundee Avenue between Congdon Avenue and Liberty Street, Elgin police said.

Though unable to provide a specific outage number in Elgin, ComEd representatives said about 26,000 customers in the company's service area were affected by power outages because of the strong winds. Power was still out throughout parts of Elgin into Wednesday evening. Some outages are not expected to be repaired until about 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a ComEd outage map.

Because of the power outages, Elgin's city council and committee of the whole meetings Wednesday night were rescheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, and the liquor commission meeting was canceled.

Gail Borden Public Library at 270 N. Grove Ave. was also temporarily closed to customers. Patrons who were already inside the library were told they could stay, according to a Facebook post. Visitors have been asked to check the library's Facebook page for updated hours before coming in Thursday.

  A downed power line on the Metra tracks near the Elgin station caused several train delays Wednesday. Brian Hill/
  ComEd crews were at the scene of a downed power line on the Metra railroad tracks near the Elgin train station Wednesday. Brian Hill/
  A crew from Ackerman tree specialists removes a burr oak tree that fell on a home at 203 Branchwood Dr. in Schaumburg due to high winds Wednesday. Paul Ackerman, owner of the company, estimated the tree to be 150 years old and said it had probably been rotting at the stump for the last 30 years. He also estimated that the section that struck the house weighed five tons, and that the entire tree weighed twice as much. "I'm surprised the house held that up to be honest with you," Ackerman said. "If we had a wet winter, if the ground had been moist, a lot more trees would have fallen." Joe Lewnard/
  Westbound Route 64 in West Chicago was shut down between Route 59 and Powis Road Wednesday afternoon after high winds caused traffic light lines to come loose at Route 64 and Powis. Westbound traffic had to divert north or south on Route 59 to get around the closure. Mark Black/
Tracey George of Antioch found this large tree fallen in her backyard from the strong winds Wednesday. Courtesy of Tracey George
Deborah Hauter of Lake Villa caught this pine tree swaying, then falling from the wind gusts Wednesday at Piper Lane and Monaville Road in Lake Villa. Courtesy of Deborah Hauter
Deborah Hauter of Lake Villa caught this pine tree swaying from the wind gusts Wednesday at Piper Lane and Monaville Road in Lake Villa. Courtesy of Deborah Hauter
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.