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Commuters Concerned Over Latest Northstar Line Delay

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Three days after some of the worst driving conditions in recent memory, plenty of people were still late to work, but the roads weren’t the culprit.

The Northstar Commuter Rail line was once again delayed for commuters coming in from the northwest, with Monday morning delays of 60 to 90 minutes reported.

The delays were significant enough that Metro Transit put out the word urging riders to look for other modes of transportation, but the early morning commuters didn’t hear about the issue until they arrived to the train station.

The delays had nothing to do with the weather. Metro Transit blamed the setback on freight rail traffic. The Northstar line shares the track, which is owned by Burlington Northern Sante Fe.

A big reason why so many people use the Northstar rail line is it’s a reputation for on-time reliability, but in recent weeks a string of setbacks from freight rail traffic to stalled cars on the tracks leaves some questioning if they’ll keep using this service.

“It”s very frustrating because I’ve used the train since it started,” commuter Rhonda Waydula said. “When it opened, we didn’t have these issues the first several years. It’s only this past year where we’ve had so many issues.”

Metro Transit said these delays are not the norm. Commuters hope the issues will not continue this way as this brutal winter continues.

“It’s a big deal because people are given the impression they can ride the train, and if it doesn’t show up, that really throws your schedule off and people get angry at work,” commuter Jim Tiggelaar said.

Metro Transit encourages commuters to sign up for its email or text alerts when problems on the rail line come up.

They also said they implement a backup plan in cases such as this. Riders on some of the later trains were bussed in to the downtown area.

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