Often a safer bet than cars in inclement weather, even trains can come to a grinding halt due to the snow. An excavator clears the tracks of snow after two trains got stuck in Balkakra, Sweden, on Dec. 28, 2010. Johan Nilsson/Scanpix Sweden/AP/File
Sunbathing and amusement park rides are distant memories for MTA employees clearing snow from the Q train track in Coney Island, New York, on Dec. 28, 2010. Mary Altaffer/AP/File
An ice-covered train pulls in to the station in Berlin on Dec. 28, 2010. Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters/File
Employees of the Zwickau Transport Company remove snow with heavy equipment from the tram tracks in Zwickau, Germany, on Jan. 4. Jan Woitas/DPA/Picture-Alliance/Newscom
Workers clear a platform at the Edison train station as snow falls during a storm on Jan. 26 in Edison, N.J. Mel Evans/AP
A train is stranded as heavy snow covers the train tracks in Daisen, Japan, on Jan. 1. Kyodo/Reuters
A snowplow train runs on street car tracks in Sapporo, Japan. Kyodo/Newscom/File
A commuter gingerly boards a train in Huntington, N.Y., on Jan. 12. Alejandra Villa/Newsday/MCT/Newscom
Snow and ice don't stand a chance against this frost cutter. Imago Stock&People/Newscom
An employee of the Cologne Transport Company brings some heat to bear on the situation by de-icing the tracks with a blowtorch in Cologne, Germany, on Dec. 26, 2010. Joerg Carstensen/Newscom/File
Free and clear: A steam engine run by the Harz narrow-gauge railway chugs through an idyllic winter scene in Schierke, Germany, on Jan. 29. Patrick Pleul/DPA/Picture-Alliance/Newscom
Obama phoned Russia's Vladimir Putin Thursday to discuss a US proposal for resolving the Ukraine crisis. Earlier, the US moved to begin a regimen of sanctions against Russia. Will those be enough to prevent Russia's annexation of Crimea?
[Updated 9:30 p.m. ET] President Obama appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday, during a personal phone call, to agree to direct talks with Ukraine aimed at resolving, through diplomacy rather than military confrontation, Russia's concerns about the future direction of the Ukrainian government and of the rights of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine.