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Police: Commuter train derails at Chicago airport

Train Derails At Chicago Airport, At Least 32 Injured

CHICAGO (AP) -- Authorities say they're looking into whether faulty brakes, signals or human error may have caused a Chicago public-transit train to jump the tracks and scale an escalator at O'Hare International Airport.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tim DePaepe said at a news conference Monday that officials will interview the train's operator and look at her routine over the last few days. She is still in the hospital.

The early-morning accident on the Blue Line injured 32 people. None had life-threatening injuries.

DePaepe also says there is video footage available from a camera in the station and one mounted on the front of the train.

The derailment happened just before 3 a.m., which helped prevent more injuries in an underground station that's usually packed with travelers.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

An eight-car Chicago commuter train plowed across a platform and scaled an escalator at the underground station of one of the nation's busiest airports early Monday, injuring 32 people on board, officials said.

No one suffered life-threatening injuries in the Blue Line derailment at O'Hare International Airport, Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said during a morning briefing.

An enormous disaster was avoided thanks to the timing of the crash just before 3 a.m. The bustling station is usually packed with travelers using the major airport, but Chicago Transit Authority official said the crash happened at a traditionally quiet time.

Denise Adams, a passenger on the train, told the Chicago Sun-Times she heard a loud noise during the impact.

"I heard a `Boom!' and when I got off the train, the train was all the way up the escalator," she said. "It was a lot of panic."

CTA investigators along with the city fire department and police were reviewing security footage and interviewing the driver and other CTA workers to pin down the cause of the accident. National Transportation Safety Board was leading the investigation.

"We will be looking at equipment. We will be looking at signals. We'll be looking at the human factor and any extenuating circumstances," CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. "But really at this point, it's far too soon to speculate."

Transit agency officials said crews were working to remove the train and fix the escalator, which received "significant damage." Hours after the crash, the front of the first car could still be seen near the top of the escalator.

Christopher Bushell, CTA's chief infrastructure officer, said it would likely be at least 12 to 24 hours before the station would reopen. He said workers will cut the train apart and remove it in pieces on a flatbed.

The CTA was busing passengers to and from O'Hare to the next station on the line.

The train appeared to have been going too fast as it approached the end-of-line station and didn't stop at a bumping post - a metal shock absorber at the end of the tracks.

"The train actually climbed over the last stop, jumped up on the sidewalk and then went up the stairs and escalator," Santiago said.

"Apparently (it) was traveling at a rate of speed that clearly was higher than a normal train would be," Steele said.

It wasn't clear how many people were on board at the time of the crash, but that it took place during what is "typically among our lowest ridership time," Steele said.

The injured were taken to area hospitals and Santiago said most were able to walk away from the wreck unaided.

Six of the injured, all of whom were in stable condition, were brought to Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago, said hospital spokesman Nick Przybyciel.

Evonne Woloshyn, a spokeswoman at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, said seven people were treated for minor "whiplash-type" injuries after complaining of head and neck pain. Most were released Monday morning and the rest were expected to be discharged later in the day.

In September, a CTA Blue Line train slammed into another train at a suburban Chicago station, injuring as many as four dozen commuters.


AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner contributed to this report from Chicago.

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dejeff37 March 24 2014 at 10:54 AM


Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jeanne Herring March 24 2014 at 8:02 AM

Likely fell asleep.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
fredbrigneu March 24 2014 at 8:22 AM

If the auto industry is capable of installing anti-collission devices on selected autos - why can't the CTA?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
usljim March 24 2014 at 3:55 PM

Thanfful for no Deaths or Serious Injuries but OMG, now the lawsuits and WE the Hard working tax paying Americans will have to dish out Taxpayers money to rehabilitate those injured and pay for Chicago's lawsuits, cause they are BROKE. Way to go Chicago.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Ed Baggett March 24 2014 at 10:59 AM

It's a wonder someone wasn't on the escalator & got crushed to death.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
1 reply
monk6272 Ed Baggett March 25 2014 at 11:08 AM

Yes, but I'll bet you'll hear from a whole crowd who will "report" their injuries! (See Helenalf above)

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Richard March 24 2014 at 9:50 AM

This is why when you go up or down the escalator you should stand to one side so that trains can pass.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
2 replies
Matt Dougherty Richard March 24 2014 at 5:11 PM

Good One Rich !

Flag Reply 0 rate up
monk6272 Richard March 25 2014 at 11:10 AM

Best reply I've seen yet!!!! ROTFL!!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
ntersmikem March 24 2014 at 9:57 AM


Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Rob ntersmikem March 24 2014 at 1:08 PM


Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Matt Dougherty Rob March 24 2014 at 5:11 PM

And you'd better stop pissing on the tracks !

Flag +1 rate up
Mav March 24 2014 at 10:44 AM

LOL . . been on the Blue Line from O'Hare, but never thought I'd have to guard against getting run over on the escalator! Jeeeezzz! The platform below is 4' above the tracks (at least) . . that train car must have been LAUNCHED by the STOP-GUARD at the end. Bet that scared the sh*t out of the CTA individual in the office at the top of the escalator!! Can't wait to hear the explanation.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
pty014372 March 24 2014 at 7:55 AM

I'm guessing the conductor was drunk or high.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
2 replies
pdbocc pty014372 March 24 2014 at 8:58 AM

Or maybe, just maybe, there was some mechanical condition that caused the accident. Why don't we wait for the invesitgators to let us know.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Richard pdbocc March 24 2014 at 9:52 AM

What's the fun in that? I'm waiting for the usual Obama/NSACA conspiracy to develop.

Flag +3 rate up
jijjhnsn pty014372 March 24 2014 at 9:15 AM

Your guess might be as good. Lack of concentration as in auto accidents.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
engservprov March 24 2014 at 1:51 PM

Global warming caused the rails to expand..and cause the derailment.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
monk6272 engservprov March 25 2014 at 10:54 AM

No;... it was that "vast right wing conspiracy!"

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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