Winter Weather Alert and Preparations

January 9, 2024

    In response to the National Weather Service’s Winter Weather Advisory released January 8, A weather alert has been issued and travelers are advised to prepare for snowy conditions and slower travel times.

    CTA’s preparations for winter:

    Rail service:

    • When temperatures drop and there’s risk of freezing, track switch heaters are turned on to keep them from freezing.
    • All railcars have “sleet scrapers” that are lowered to keep the third rail clear of snow, sleet and ice.
    • Snowplow blades are attached on the front of all of the railcars so they can remove snow and ice from the track as trains move along.
    • Some railcars are equipped with special equipment that distributes deicer fluid onto the third rail. This deicing fluid keeps ice from building up and getting in the way of trains collecting power.
    • For lines that don’t operate 24 hours, special “sleet trains” are dispatched overnight to remove snow and ice and spread deicing fluid on the electrified third rail so the line is ready for service in the morning.
    • Four diesel-powered snow fighter locomotives can reach every part of the system. These self-powered snow-fighters don’t have to rely on electric power from the tracks when they’re needed.

    Bus service:

    • All buses undergo a thorough inspection process to get ready for cold weather operation. This winter prep includes checking heaters, engine thermostats and batteries, and making sure windows, roof hatches and doors close securely.
    • Buses are equipped with engine pre-heaters that circulate coolants through bus engines in cold weather so motors can be started up easily and speed the warming of bus interiors.

    Stations and facilities:

    • Salt and sand get delivered to bus and rail stations and facilities.
    • Track switch heaters tested and serviced to melt snow and ice, which could interfere with switch operations if allowed to build up.
    • Boilers at bus garages are inspected/tested.

    Pace is issuing a weather alert and advising travelers to prepare for snowy conditions and slower travel times.

    This winter weather event may slow traffic and cause service delays. Pace’s maintenance team is prepared to clear garages and bus terminals and all available personnel have been called to operate service. For those who must travel, wear warm clothing, add layers, and prepare for possible delays until roads are clear.