Another snow ordeal created train-sicles and plane-sicles in the region and made travel miserable Wednesday with delays on Metra and cancellations at both airports.
Metra reported trains late by to 85 minutes on one Union Pacific line Wednesday evening, while more than 500 flights were canceled at O'Hare International Airport and about 50 at Midway.
Winds gusting up to 25 mph blew snow over numerous roads, with the Illinois Department of Transportation saying at one point that the "majority" of the state's roads were snow and ice covered thanks to the storm that extended from southwestern Illinois to the Wisconsin state line.
About 4 to 6 inches of snow fell in the suburbs with the worst tapering off in the afternoon. Bitter temperatures are expected to follow the storm. Forecasters say wind chills in some area could sink to 30 degrees below zero on Thursday.
On Wednesday, snow and ice on the rails caused switch problems and other mechanical issues for Metra while late equipment and vehicles floundering on the tracks also snarled travel.
During the early evening, Metra reported delays of nearly 1½ hours on the Union Pacific North Line for trains heading to the suburbs because of switching problems near the Ogilvie Transportation Center.
The morning Metra commute was also tough on the Milwaukee North, Union Pacific Northwest and SouthWest Service with delays of 55, 60 and 55 minutes, respectively, on some trains. Scattered delays remained in the afternoon.
Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said the rail line "had an assortment of switching issues," notably just outside of Ogilvie Transportation Center in Chicago, which delayed all UP line trains 15-20 minutes. Two cars stuck on the tracks in Arlington Heights delayed trains on the Union Pacific Northwest Line in the morning and gates stuck down at Prospect Avenue in Clarendon Hills on the BNSF line caused delays all day, a malfunction Gillis attributed to ComEd.
Adam Yoksas, waiting for his BNSF train in Downers Grove, usually drives to Chicago but "I thought I'd take the train today," he said. "It's better than the roads." His trip to the train station took twice the time it usually does with unplowed neighborhood streets making for a treacherous drive.
Lou Bury is a 30-year Metra commuter and thinks "this winter has been the worst performance by Metra by far. I blame incompetence," he added.
His morning train was late Wednesday, but "it's late every day," the frustrated commuter said. "It's very difficult to plan your personal and professional life around a commuting system that's very unreliable."
Bury understands weather-related slowdowns on a day like Wednesday, but he's bothered by "awful communications. The alerts are inaccurate. The website is inaccurate. When you're on the train there's no communication."
Associated Press contributed to this report.