Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Blizzard 2011- Chicago Metra Commuter Service Behind the Scenes

I just found my husband. I was so worried that I started calling hotels in the town where he was supposed to put his train to bed last night. On the first call, I found him. I didn't want to wake him up, so I asked the clerk not to ring his room. An hour later, I couldn't take it anymore- I wanted to know if he had eaten or slept recently. I called the hotel again and asked the clerk to ring his room. The clerk told me he had just checked out, but that he had told my husband that I was concerned. My husband told him that his phone had lost its charge and said he'd call me when he could plug it in.

Finally he called me from the train station employee break room. He said that he was up all night. His trains were delayed for hours because of switch malfunctions. He spent much of the night outside the train on the ground clearing switches and throwing them. He was really, really cold. When they finally finished their shift, they couldn't get from the station to the hotel- just as I had thought. They spent the night in the employee area of the train station. There were two armchairs for about 10 people. They took turns on the chairs. My husband got about 2 hours of really uncomfortable rest in. Then they found a ride with someone who had a four wheel drive truck who took them back to the hotel. My husband just ahd enough time to pack up his stuff, check out, and leave. He had to be back at the station by 1:30 to work, and wasn't sure if he could get a ride if he waited longer.

So now he and the rest of the crew are holed up at the employee area of the station. My husband brought his food from the hotel - he only has a few pieces of bread and a few slices of lunchmeat and 2 prepackaged pastries. When he starts work, he will undoubtedly work another 12 hours, and will possibly end up stranded again.

So this is my appeal to rail fans out there: If you are riding trains during blizzards or other natural disasters, please remember that railroad workers are doing their best. Many work in outlying areas where they have little or no access to places to sleep, and no access to food. There are not even any vending machines where my husband is at.

I'm hoping that the station downtown will have it's food court open so that he can refuel there.

These train crews have it tough this week- I wish I could help them.


fite4truth said...

Hey my husband is a conductor in training. Who does your husband work for? We have three kids and live in S.C.

Travis said...

I sure enjoy your Blog. Hope your hubby is back to work. UP is hiring conductors in Houston - You said you like the Gulf Coast but that's a big move. Thanks- Look forward to your next update.

DAVID HAAS said...

I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

Borce Long said...

Great article, I have enjoyed reading your blog!