More details on CTA Brown Line "derailment" that wasn't a derailment

The Tribune has a good report with further details and photos on the Brown Line mishap this morning, including video and photos.

The CTA is not calling the incident a “derailment” because “all of the wheels stayed on the track”:

[CTA spokesperson Noelle] Gaffney said the eight-car train had just left the Belmont station
and was headed to the Southport station when the front part of the train
switched onto the westbound tracks on the Brown line while the rest of
the train’s wheels remained on the northbound tracks.

“The first part of the train went on the correct track, but the middle part stayed on the northbound track,” Gaffney said.


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  • I don't actually care if the train derailed or not. I *do* care about all the the communications snafus I'm hearing about. That's generally the worst part of any thing that goes wrong with the CTA. They just will not tell riders what is going on.

  • That is a derailment because there are switches designed not to allow that.
    They are called "non-derailing switches"!
    More bullshit & lies from Gaffney.
    Or more correctly, more gaffes!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    What is a non-derailing switch ?

  • In reply to leobaz:

    A non-derailing switch is one where the switchpoints on the switchpoints of the second track [the one the train is being transferred to] are spring loaded, so that the train moving through the second set will just move the switchpoints aside as its wheels pass through if the switchman fails to move them.
    The only spring switch I remember the CTA having used to be at the Dempster station on the Swift, but it was removed many years ago & replaced with a regular one.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Ok, so how does that prevent the first set of switchpoints from moving under the train, such as what appears to have happened here?

  • In reply to leobaz:

    It can't.
    This was either an error by the switchman or some bizarre sort of mechanical failure.
    I vote for the switchman who didn't lock the switch handle correctly & the train's vibrations sent it back to straight.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Or the tower operator set the route for the next train before the previous one cleared.

    Thus your original post is not revelent to this event.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    No, it's still relevant, a non-derailing switch could not be reset without the other switch also being changed.
    It was a derailment, but the NTSB will decide who or what gets blamed.
    In addition, but a bit OT: Just before the trains cross the Lake or Wells bridges, there are switches that lead to a short track with a bumping post at its end. That's called a derail & that switch must be opened to derail a train so it doesn't crash into the opened bridge.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    The switches are Lake or wells bridges are diverters not derails. The train, if deverted, to the bumping track can hit the bumper.

    A Derail switch would put the train off the track,which would be worse then hitting a bumper. These are usually used by freight railways to prevent run away cars from entering the mainline from an industry that is uphill.

    Derailers are also used to protect shop doors or gates from trains hitting them.

  • In reply to leobaz:

    The CTA itself used to mark them as derails!

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