Unmanned Blue Line train crashing caps horrible publicity month for CTA

You might think it couldn’t get any worse for the CTA.

September started with confusion over buying Ventra cards online, and ended with the crash of an unmanned Blue Line train into another with passengers sitting at the Harlem station on the Forest Park branch. At least 33 people were taken to hospitals. Here’s hoping for the best of all them.

In between, there were lots of pissed off people who couldn’t reach a Ventra operator after having problems with online activation. And there was the story about how the CTA changed its tune quickly, and provided bus service to a new Pullman Wal-Mart.

Today I was going to list a bunch more customer complaints about Ventra. But somehow I just can’t bring myself to kick the CTA more when it’s down. Besides, people were hurt in a very bizarre accident. We’ll let the investigators try to sort that out.

Tomorrow is another day. And hopefully the start of a better month for the CTA.


Leave a comment
  • Since there is no actual way for this to have happened without there being human intervention, I don't really think the CTA can claim it was unmanned.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    I don't think the CTA is saying it was unmanned. I am saying it was when it crashed.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    The doors must be closed before the train can move, right? Typically when a train master (?) leaves the booth & exits the train, the doors remain open.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    The Tribune had a recap of all the things that would have had to go wrong.

  • It's being reported the CTA says no one was at the controls. Both papers are most of the tv stations have that in their reports.

  • Other than Steele, Lukidis, and Chase (who are well paid for spreading misinformation yesterday), none of us should care if CTA had a bad publicity month. The thing about which we should care is that there is another example where someone didn't prevent something from going wrong, which is a recurring pattern at CTA.

    Anyway, the Sun-Times had an ironic twist on where the big wigs (including Emanuel) were while the first responders in Forest Park were responding. Also, one can see in the news reports later in the day that Claypool was behind the NTSB investigator, but muted.

    Maybe CTA would have less unfavorable publicity if it hired competent leadership.

  • There's a better chance that the four car train was a decepticon.

    C'mon now. How can a train decouple itself to make four cars, leave the station (without anyone noticing until the supervisor on the tracks saw) on the wrong track and not get stopped by the failsafes?

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Up to the NTSB to find out.

    However, I see certain parallels to the NTSB investigation of the derailment and fire in the Blue Line subway, which finally came down to a whole bunch of CTA employees not doing their job. I don't know if this investigation will come to the same conclusion.

  • It's a good thing the revenue train that was hit wasn't a 5000.
    There would've been far more injuries from people getting wrapped around the stanchions next to every other seat!

  • They are a bunch of liars anyway. From the orange line derailment they try to say it was due to drunk CTA Employees. Which was not fact. They will lie cheat steal to save face anyday.

  • Interesting photo in the Trib today. It shows the wrecked ends of the impacted cars covered up with a tarp. http://goo.gl/lqR2Mp
    Is Claypool that stupid in thinking that people haven't seen the photos & video of the wrecked cars?
    Oh wait, I've answered my own question!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    In this case, your speculation is unwarranted. The NTSB was preserving the scene for its investigation, which continued over the night. It is reported that the cars were finally hauled away for today's rush hour.

    All of the late news reports last night were that the investigation was entirely in the NTSB's hands, and (as I noted at the top of the Ventra vents post), Steele & Co's. present position is "no comment pending that investigation." Apparently no comment from the NTSB either, because that other than emergency responders are subject to the shutdown.

  • Slightly OT.
    NYC's MTA is cracking down hard on bad bus driving habits.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/10/03/cta-feds-rule-out-sabotage-in-ghost-train-crash/

    (CBS) — Investigators are much closer to pinpointing the cause of Monday’s CTA Blue Line collision involving a runaway train that was supposed to be standing still waiting for repairs.

    CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports.

    The National Transportation Safety Board and CTA investigators have virtually ruled out sabotage. And now they believe the runaway train actually stopped and started several times before the crash because of some kind of control problem.

    A CTA bulletin posted Thursday in all train yards orders employees to isolate all defective cars and put chocks on all wheels to make sure the defective cars can’t move.

    Witnesses, CBS 2 is told, have reported that the four-car train –- two defective cars and two others towing them — stopped and started several times on the run from the Forest Park yard to the crash site at Harlem. The cars were stopped by the interlocks on both sides of the Forest Park Station, which worked as they should have, but then powered back up, starting up again apparently on their own.The bulletin has led to concern among employees that the control problem may not be limited to the cars involved in the crash, but could be something that affects the computer control systems of other cars as well.

    The eastbound rogue train collided with a westbound train with 40 passengers aboard.

    Surveillance cameras showed no one was aboard the runaway train either that morning or the preceding 24 hours.

    Thursday’s bulletin caught CTA workers by surprise, something that probably wouldn’t have happened had there not been a government shutdown and all the NTSB communications personnel on furlough.

    The NTSB is well known as one of the most transparent government agencies, with daily briefings constantly updating investigators’ findings.

Leave a comment