CTA rail gaffes: A long step off Brown Line; rail windows, doors left open

Some CTA Tattler correspondents shared these unsettling tales of dangerous situations on rail trains.

From John:

I was riding in the eighth car of northbound Brown Line run 422 Tuesday night.  At around 9:45, as we pulled into the Diversey station, the train stopped before my car was alongside the platform.

I expected to hear the driver announce the “Please wait until the train has pulled into the station” message.  Instead, the usual recorded arrival message was played…and the doors opened!  Nobody on my car was getting off and I didn’t hear any yells of surprise followed by a thud, so I assume no one in the other cars not at the platform disembarked.

I’ve been riding various CTA lines since the mid-70’s and a number of times I’ve been on a train in a station and the doors didn’t open but never the other way around.  Just a little bit scary.

And these photos are from Michael, some of which he posted on the CTA Tattler Facebook page.

Two photos show open windows in motorman cabs, while another shows an open door in the last car of the motorman’s cab. Both are just dangerous situations waiting to happen.

Thanks for sharing guys. Anyone should feel free to email me with tips, or post on my Facebook page.


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    Uhhh if I'm not mistaken, that back door is always open, at least on the brown line.

  • In reply to Chris J:

    Still seems kinda dangerous.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    No more dangerous than any other emergency door.

    I sit there every morning, for many years now, on my way in from Kimball to downtown. It is relaxing to look out the rear window.

    Now of course with your complaining about it that area will probably be closed off to everyone.

    Thanks a bunch.

  • I'm pretty sure in those situations the exit door is locked, so nobody would be able to fall out.

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    But it functions as an emergency exit. They shouldn't be able to lock it from inside.

  • If the implication is unused operator cabs. I doubt that there is anything that keeps the windows closed, and even though there is a lock on the partition door (for those who didn't believe me, there is a partition, although one can see through this one) after 11 years one has to wonder if it would keep any one out, anyway.

    As far as stopping short, I was on a Red Line train about 10 years ago, in the front car where the operator was stopping pretty consistently at "6." Someone walked through the end doors to the front, knocked on the cab door and said that the doors were opening but the cars at the back had not reached the platform, and the operator said "I thought I had a 6 car train." So, this is nothing new, either.

  • This is about the most absurd complaint about the CTA I've ever read!
    Until the advent of one man operation, the rear door was always there to be opened by anyone.
    And before air conditioning, it was left wide open all summer. as was the front door & all the doors between the cars.
    I was walking from car to car when I was 10 years old & I'd still be doing this except you can get arrested for it now, but only on the Red Line & then only on the North Side as I ride the Red & Green Lines regularly on the South Side & all the peddlers do it & never get caught.

  • I always presumed that the area in last car was always left open. I've noticed this more often now that I work downtown and specifically target this back car because it's the least crowded. Obviously these aren't hardcore statistics but I'd say that 9-10 times the car has that area open on the 5 days that I commute back up north. I wonder if this is a fire/safety hazard, to have that emergency door blocked. Imagine a situation where that's the only exit out and it's locked by the car operator's door.

  • The doors on the end are supposed to have a chain across the front to prevent someone from walking out.

  • Back in the 70's, it was common to see trains with the rear door open during the summer to keep the car cool although there was a set of chains preventing you from falling from the train. And passenger windows that opened were the norm before air conditioning. Many of the windows had guards preventing you from sticking your head or hands out the window but some cars lacked these guards. And we'd walk from car to car and not think twice about it. During the CTA strike while I was in high school in the early 80's, I remember having to stand between cars during my ride home. I guess sometime in the last 30 years, we forgot that we shouldn't jump out of the back door of a train or stick your head or hand out of a window of a moving train.

  • In reply to ChicagoBorn:

    Before my time, but the books indicate that in the early 6000 series trains, the conductors worked between the cars, and the door controls were outside. Hard to comprehend that.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yes, the old 4000 series cars that were used during all hours on Lake St. until the 2000 series cars were bought & on Ravenswood & Evanston Express trains during the rush hours, the conductors stood between the cars on ledges just at the edge of the anti-climbers, leaned out over the platforms & had very large, round buttons they hit up or down to close the doors. The "buttons" were the size of small fire alarm bells you see in buildings, maybe 4"-5" in diameter. They did this an all weather. I watched them do it.

  • Why is this even a story here? I see open windows such as the one in the picure above all the time, and frankly I welcome them since, esp. on the Red Line, they allow the car to air out, which is always welcome. If you are stupid enough to try to walk out the back of a train via that door, or to keep your hand dangling out that window in the Hobo Corner, then and you are maimed or killed, thats just evolution thinning your dumb ass out of the breeding stock.

    Of all the stories that could be covered here, why this one? Must be a slow news day on the Transit beat.

  • In reply to boofoochoochoo:

    Apparently not so slow, as it was reported that Thurs. Red Line trains had to use the outer track because of signal or electrical problems at Belmont, and today Yellow Line trains can't run because of similar at Howard.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yep. I was on one of those affected Red Line trains. We sat at Howard for 15 minutes while the bozos at CTA ran around like chickens with no head trying to figure out what to do next. You would think there would be back up electrical for the switching system, but maybe not.

  • I was on a Blue Line train which didn't fully pull into my station sometime last summer. Same thing happened; I expected to hear a "wait until we're fully in" announcement, but got nothing. The doors opened to the street below. Thankfully no one was leaning on the doors or otherwise not paying attention; talk about certain death.

    I emailed the CTA about it with the car number, the time, the stop, etc. and got the canned, "We're sorry you had a negative experiece blahblahblah..." 'A negative experience,' indeed! Could have been pretty terrible; it was very dangerous.

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