Green Line derailed at same spot 19 months ago

Saturday’s Green Line derailment occurred at the same spot as a previous derailment in May 2008 — at a curve around 59th Street and Calumet Avenue.

Fourteen passengers were hospitalized with “very, very minor” injuries. Firefighters helped another 34 passengers out of the train and to the ground below. That must be very scary, descending a ladder to safety from an elevated train. Thankfully, no one was more seriously injured.

Two derailments in 19 months. Perhaps it’s time to do a bit of rail work at that spot?


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  • Track work won't do anything to stop a motorman blowing a red signal and overriding the PTC, and picking a switch, which was the reported cause of the last derailment.

  • Which is why they should have an emergency kill an automatic train shut down BEFORE the motorman has the chance to blow through a red signal. What would happen if a motorman had an heart attack or passed out while manning the train??? I would hope the train wouldn't keep going until it hit a curve, falls off the tracks, and unto the ground.

  • In reply to Gerec:

    There is a dead man control, so if a motorman did die, the train will stop after a certain number of seconds. I don't know what the CTA's time limit is.

  • In reply to Gerec:

    The cab signals are set up so that if there is no response to a red, the train is supposed to stop within a predetermined time. However, as many CTA wrecks back to the one at Lake and Wabash in 1977 show, the problem is that the red is not a permanent stop, and the motorman can (in the sense of is able to) proceed at about 6 mph after making the stop. They are supposed to call the control center for clearance first, but apparently in some cases (such as an incident near Oak Street on the Brown/Purple) don't.

    In the last derailment at 59th, it appeared to be a southbound train that ran over a switch while it was changing, resulting in the first car going to Ashland and the second toward Cottage, or vice versa. It appears that this one involved a train coming from Ashland, so it probably is something else.

  • In reply to jack:

    In the 1977 Lake/Wabash wreck, the second motorman was operating under 'Flasher 15' which allowed him to proceed through a red as long as he kept it under 15 MPH.

  • In reply to Gerec:

    Positive train control is not auto pilot and it doesn't keep the train moving in absence of operator commands. Positive train control stops the train if it violates a signal indication or exceeds the maximum speed the train is entitled to.

  • In reply to akagoldfish:

    That's positive train control in general, I'm actually not sure if the CTA's system can slow a train down if it exceeds its speed limit.

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