Worker falling on circuit board caused train delays at Union Station, Durbin says

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CHICAGO — A worker falling on a circuit board was to blame for massive Amtrak and Metra delays that impacted an estimated 100,000 people at Union Station on Thursday.

The fall happened during a server upgrade, according to Sen. Dick Durbin, who said he spoke with Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson.

“The most important error they made was to decide to do a server upgrade to their computers during peak hours of service,” Durbin said in a statement. “This should be done in the middle of the night when only a handful of trains are running.”

The delays affected an estimated 100,000 people during Thursday’s morning and evening commutes — leaving many scrambling to find alternate routes home. One commuter said an Uber ride from Union Station to Buffalo Grove cost $130 with surge pricing.

The signal issue began about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and was not resolved until roughly 9 p.m.

Amtrak issued a public apology for the delays, citing “human error” as the cause.

Lawmakers are now calling on Amtrak to address the cause of the system failure and make changes to prevent this from happening again.

Metra and Amtrak service returned to normal Friday. There was extra staffing on hand during the morning commute to handle any possible issues.


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