Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board moved in this morning to take control of the investigation into the CTA Blue Line crash in Forest Park.
The train rolled through the suburban train yard, apparently without an operator, and past two failsafe switches and a so-called dead man’s switch which should have stopped it. It then hit 20 miles an hour, uphill, before slamming into that other train.
A supervisor watched in disbelief as the apparently unmanned train rolled by, then sprung into action, literally chasing it down the track and radioed a warning to the packed train just down the line. The operator of that train looked up and saw no one at the controls as the moment of impact drew closer. He radioed the train to stop. No response. He then shouted a warning to his passengers, with no time to get off, to brace themselves.
It sounds impossible. Investigators hard at work tonight figuring out how it`s not.
The NTSB is sifting through physical evidence that’s being preserved with all the care of a crime scene. That’s not to say they’re looking at a crime. They don`t know yet. What they`re looking at, for the moment, is everything.
Investigators are starting with the signals, the switches and mechanical systems.
Investigators will also look at video from along the line and at the yard, where a train that sat for a week flagged for repairs simply started rolling today.