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State

Metra expects fewer train delays over high winds

CHICAGO – Officials of the Metra commuter rail agency say they expect fewer weather-related train delays thanks to new devices that measure wind speeds in real time along rail lines serving Chicago.

The devices, known as anemometers, have been installed on lines that are owned by BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad. Those companies' rules on operating trains in extreme high winds have led to widespread disruption of Metra commuter service.

But the new devices provide more precise, real-time information on wind speeds and direction than weather forecasts. That means any halts in service should affect fewer trains and should be lifted more quickly.

Metra Director Don Orseno said Thursday delays will be minimized without sacrificing safety.

Metra paid for the installation of 11 anemometers, which cost $25,000 each.

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