Shortage of engineers delays Metra trains

June 13, 2011

A combination of Union Pacific engineers on vacation, out sick or in work training sessions put Metra commuters in a bind this morning. Union Pacific operates Metra's UP West line.

Metra spokesman Tom Miller says the UP's management is unacceptable.

"Poor manpower planning by the UP resulted in at least 6 trains canceled and several others with lengthy delays," Miller said.

UP spokesman Mark Davis says the shortage was not a labor union issue. He says the agency has 6 back-up engineers to call in when workers take time off, but with so many workers out today, the agency was overwhelmed. The UP management team was caught off guard.

"The operating team is working with them right now to find out (A) what happened this morning, and (B) what can we do to make sure that this doesn't happen in the future," Davis said.

Davis says the UP has found engineers from other lines to fill in this afternoon, and he anticipates a normal evening commute.