[Union Pacific spokesman Mark] Davis said the crew shortages were caused by a combination of vacations, family leave and illness -- not labor strife.It used to be the case that the most senior engineers bid the passenger trains, and the yard, because those jobs were the most predictable, with the best chance of being home each night. I don't know if that's still the case. A commuter's comment suggests we might be seeing a backward bending supply curve.
"A combination of vacations, family leave, training as well as a few of the employees being ill. . .exhausted our extra engineer pool that fill in for employees during that time," Davis sasid. "It is not a labor issue at all."
Davis said about six backup engineers were tapped to run the trains this morning but they were not enough. He did not know how many people did not come in to work, but company officials are investigating how they were caught by surprise.
"We are looking at our crew management team to find out what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again," Davis said.
About 200 commuters were lined up at the Wheaton station at 8:20 a.m., waiting for the 7:42 a.m. train. It finally arrived at 8:35 a.m.As fine as the weather was Sunday, and as it is this morning, I'd mark off too. The pattern of Monday service disruptions suggests impromptu three-day weekends. An expression, "playing the board", comes to mind.
"This is happening more and more frequently," said Dan Dominquez, who lives in Wheaton and works in the Loop. "It always seems to be Monday morning, always equipment or personnel."
"If someone has the power to change Metra, please do," added Steve Whitner. "This is nothing new."