Story Summary

CTA train crash at Forest Park station

Dozens of people were injured when a CTA train ran head-on into another train that was stopped at a station on the Blue Line in Forest Park, officials said.

Story Timeline
Previous Next
This story has 10 updates

Two CTA workers have been fired and two more are suspended over that runaway el train that left dozens of blue line passengers injured.

The CTA said the workers used improper maintenance techniques, which  contributed to the bizarre accident. An investigation revealed that workers leaving the train powered-up while it was at the Forest Park rail yard is the cause of incident. But the rail workers union said  he’s being made a scapegoat for what has long been a common practice. They said the switch-man did nothing wrong and followed CTA policy.

A supervisor responsible for the rail yard got two weeks suspension without pay and the switch-man who left the train’s power on got a three-day suspension.

Thirty people suffered minor injuries when the empty train hit another at the Harlem station. Another lawsuit has been filed a woman and her granddaughter, who say there were injured, are seeking $200,000 in damages.

Federal railroad experts are considering making emergency recommendations to the CTA after investigating this week’s blue line train crash.

Four rail cars and the blue line train that was hit were towed to a CTA facility for examination.

Investigators didn’t elaborate on their findings or what the recommendations could entail.

The agency’s investigation is expected to take a year and a report will be issued on the cause of the crash.

A mechanical malfunction may be the reason an out-of-service CTA train rolled onto the tracks on its own, and slammed into another train a mile away injuring 33 people.

Video from three different CTA cameras didn’t show anyone getting on or off the Blue Line train before it crashed at the Harlem station on Monday.

So far, there isn’t any evidence of criminal activity.

NTSB officials will continue investigating the incident, despite the agency being technically closed due to the government shutdown.

The CTA says there will be normal service for rush hour trains this morning. Bus shuttles will remain in place, but there will be stops at Harlem.

The damaged train has been taken off the tracks.

Some CTA riders experience dangerously overcrowded train platforms and more than doubled commute times following yesterday’s crash on the Blue Line today
Two trains collided at the Harlem Ave station yesterday morning.
The CTA made some service changes to reduce the waiting time between trains, including more short run* trains and shuttle buses to the Oak Park and Forest Park stations.
Even with the accommodations, commuters had a hard time making the adjustment.
NTSB investigators have taken over the Harlem Ave station, trying to determine what caused an out-of-service train to roll out of the yard, past multiple failsafe mechanisms, then crash head-on into another train a mile away.

It appears no one was at the controls of a CTA Blue Line train that barreled, head-on into another train filled with passengers during the morning rush on Monday.

Now federal investigators are trying to figure out how it all happened.

The empty four-car train with brake problems traveled from a rail yard for nearly a mile at 20-miles-an hour around 8 a.m. Monday.

It came to a stop after slamming into a standing train at the Harlem station.

Thirty-three people inside the standing train were hurt in the impact, as others yelled and scrambled to escape.

The injuries were not life threatening.

The National Transportation Safety Boardhas now stepped in.

It will try to find out how the train broke through two fail-safe switches.

Blue Line trains are not stopping at Harlem/Congress, Forest Park Branch, due to Monday’s train accident.

Service has resumed to Forest Park.

Shuttle buses are in place between Harlem/Harrison and Oak Park stations.

Residual delays are expected to affect Blue Line service. Allow extra travel time.

Dozens of people were injured Monday morning in a Chicago suburb when a reportedly unmanned train collided with another train at a CTA stop.

Investigators continue to work the scene near the Harlem station along the Eisenhower Expressway.

Shortly before 8 a.m. a CTA Blue Line train with brake problems somehow escaped the Forest Park rail yard with reportedly no operator inside. It traveled at roughly 20 mph east for about a half to three quarters of a mile until it crashed head on into an eight car train parked at the Harlem station.

33 of passengers suffered cuts, bruises and other minor injuries.

Reports say people inside the train were screaming and yelling for help. Not knowing what could be next, some were even crushed in the crowds as they rushed for a way out. The injuries in the end were non-life threatening for all.

Blue Line trains along the Eisenhower are single tracking only as shuttle buses pick up commuters slowed down by the crash.

This is no longer a CTA investigation. The NTSB is in charge now. Eisenhower commuters will likely see what’s left of the train collision on their way in and out of the city on Tuesday.

The investigation continues.

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.

Local News

33 injured in CTA Blue Line crash

CTA officials are investigating how an out of service train ran head-on into a train stopped at a Blue Line station in Forest Park Monday morning, sending dozens of people to hospitals.

The accident happened just before 8 a.m. Train service was suspended for a few hours between Forest Park and Kedzie Avenue, but has since resumed. According to a tweet from the CTA, trains are not stopping at Harlem.

The CTA confirmed 33 people were injured and taken to 6 different area hospitals.

Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone says police are treating the crash site as a crime scene because a stationary train was run into by a running train with no conductor in it.

At this hour, investigators still don’t know why the train was moving in the first place, when it was in the yard for service.  They are reviewing video and interviewing any witnesses from the CTA yard.

CTA spokesperson Brian Steele says, “I really don’t know if you can characterize it as a runaway train.  Obviously it was moving in a direction that it shouldn’t have been on tracks that it shouldn’t have been.  Clearly that should not have occurred.  This is not a movement that a train should be making.  The circumstances that lead to that is what we’re looking into.”

This is a developing story. More details as they become available.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

CTA officials are investigating how an out of service train ran head-on into a train stopped at a Blue Line station in Forest Park Monday morning, sending dozens of people to hospitals.

Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone hold press conference after CTA Blue Line crash