Metra Board Member Arlene Mulder Chastizes Union Pacific For Railroad’s Poor Performance During Snow, Record Cold

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Union Pacific Railroad regional Vice President David Connell, addressed the Metra board Friday morning January 17, 2014 and apologized for poor railroad performance on Monday, Jan. 6, when Metra riders were left stranded at the Clybourn stop in subzero temperatures. Monday morning weather on January 6, 2014 brought a new record low of -16 degrees to Chicago.

Metra board member and former Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder chastized the UP.

“I could not believe such a decision could come from an organization such as yours. To put people at risk in those temperatures is just unbelievable … That is a big black mark.”

— Arlene Mulder

The cold weather froze railroad track switches and caused railroad gates to malfunction in several areas. On Saturday, January 4, 2014, railroad gates were stuck in the down position from about 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in downtown Arlington Heights. Evergreen Avenue, Dunton Avenue and Vail Avenue were blocked while Arlington Heights Road remained open. Remarkably many motorist just sat there for several minutes even while the Union Pacific railroad workers were on the scene working on the problem. No temporary signs were placed to alert motorists of the prolonged train gate closures and to inform motorists of any possible alternatives.

Many residents complained that the gates are frequently stuck in the down position for prolonged periods, and that the gates also go down for short time periods when no trains or maintenance vehicles are in the area. Residents and business owners report that the inconvenience and traffic jams disrupt businesses and passage from one side of the village to the other side of the village.

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