This is how CTA gets ready for a snow storm

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CHICAGO -- As a Winter Storm Watch goes into effect this weekend, CTA is prepped and ready to go, equipping trains with snow and ice removal equipment. There are also heaters up and running at all of its outdoor platform stops like the Western Blue Line.

For severe storms, CTA has four diesel-powered snow fighter locomotives which are self-powered and don't have to rely on electric power from the tracks when they're needed.

To fight the winter weather, some railcars are equipped with de-icer fluid that sprays it onto the third rail along the track, which keeps ice from building up and getting in the way of trains maintaining power.

Track switch heaters are turned on to keep switches from freezing, and railcars are also equipped with other snow removal tools.

"We have snow plow blades on the front of our rail cars that clear the tracks of snow and ice as they move along. We also have sleet scrapers that drop to the wheel well to make sure the rail is clear of sleet and ice," said CTA spokesman Jeff Tolman.

All CTA buses have also undergone a winter weather inspection, checking heaters and engine thermostats.

CTA does not expect any major problems with delays this weekend but suggests folks keep an eye on routes by following the CTA's Twitter account and signing up for real time alerts at

The City of Chicago Streets and Sanitation has 300 snow plows and salt spreaders ready to go. IDOT has about 1,700 vehicles statewide to handle the winter weather this weekend.

Between IDOT and Streets and San, there is nearly a million tons of salt standing by.

Snow starting late Saturday afternoon through Sunday. WGN's Chicago Weather Center is predicting 8-12 inches.

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