The BNSF Railway’s top passenger rail official promised Metra’s board of directors Wednesday that the railroad would eliminate the causes of overheated and overcrowded coach cars that had commuters boiling mad this summer.
The executive from the Fort Worth, Tex.-based railroad appeared to placate three Metra directors who were harshly critical of BNSF a month ago, and who were not buying the excuses put forth then by another BNSF official. BNSF operates the line under contract to Metra.
D.J. Mitchell, assistant vice president for BNSF passenger operations, said he and and a BNSF vice president for mechanical operations would soon meet with Metra officials and seek to prevent a recurrence of the “hot cars” with failed air conditioning on Metra’s BNSF line.
“We’re going to sit down with the Metra folks and see why this happened,” Mitchell said. “We owe everyone, first and foremost our riders, to make sure we don’t have this happen next year.”
At one point this summer, there were 64 cars with chronic AC problems on the Metra line to Aurora. Currently, Mitchell said, there were two hot cars in service and two in the shop being repaired.
“That is a significant improvement over a month ago,” Mitchell said.
The BNSF line is the busiest of Metra’s 11 lines, with 94 trains carrying 64,000 riders a day between Union Station and Aurora.
In addition, Mitchell said trains were now operating…