Blue Line O'Hare accident was horrific start to a bad Monday for CTA

Monday was not a good day for the CTA. No sirree.

In the O’Hare “derailment,” 32 people were injured, though none seriously. The accident occurred at 2:50 a.m., when very few passengers were on the train. At the time I published this, the motorwoman was still hospitalized and National Transportation Safety Board officials had not yet interviewed her. Investigators were looking at faulty brakes, bad signals or human error as possible causes for the accident. Reports stated the motorwoman had “nodded off.”

The accident occurred just as workers further south on the Blue Line were finishing up the first piece of work on the $492 million Your New Blue station and track upgrade project.


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    To look at those pictures…thank God no one was seriously hurt and this happened as early as it did. Can you imagine the injuries if this occurred during rush hour with the station packed?

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    I wonder if the 5000 series cars' control system could have prevented this type of accident (assuming it was operator error?)

  • In reply to Seth:

    The signal system isn't any different.

    The only thing we can say about this and the Forest Park accident is that CTA had a reason for insisting that there be 3 welds rather than two at the front of the 5000s.

    But that brings up a point related to the one I just made on the other post--unlike the cars in the Forest Park crash, the front of this car does not look damaged (certainly not crushed, according to these pictures). Hence, something more than just "colliding with the bumper" must have gotten it up there.

  • In reply to jack:

    Of course, I should mention that the first picture shows a lot of undercar equipment damage. The station video should be interesting.

  • So can we blame any of this on Ventra? Oooh, tough crowd.

  • In reply to johnpseudonym:

    I'm gonna resist saying anything more about escalators. Wouldn't be funny.

  • I'm totally baffled as to why the CTA's bumper posts are designed to interlock with the train's anti-climbers.

    All the 10PM newscasts reported she was on the job for just one year & admits to nodding off, while claiming she was over worked.
    I would like to know, how long had she been on this run & is she the operator I complained about on the Yellow Line several weeks ago, who didn't blast the horn at the line's seven grade crossings until she passed the sidewalks at each grade crossing, which is way too late.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Anticlimbers: If that's the case, this accident shows exactly why it should be. The purpose of the anticlimbers is to keep colliding trains level instead of one submarining the other. But here the train became airborne.

    Operator: The question here is why Kelly was violating the operator's right of fair representation by opening his mouth and incriminating the operator. Also, it probably is pretty unlikely that an operator would be assigned to Howard and Rosemont yards on the same pick.

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    Want to make this #10 on most annoying things when riding the El? Something good better come out of this near tragedy, other than a bill for repairs.

  • In reply to Jusawee Catnap:

    They haven't said what caused the crash at Harlem in Forest Park yet.

    The only things that probably come out of CTA's mouth, based on that partial investigation, and the black eye it took in the 2006 NTSB report on the Blue Line subway derailment and fire is that some employees get fired and CTA keeps crying that it has $8 billion in unmet needs to get to a state of good repair.

  • When is ibilldavis going to come on here and defend this motorwoman and blame it all on the fact that they are/were being asked to clean cars?

    Scooter, I believe they said her shift started at 8PM, so this would presumably be near the end of her shift. However, they said she had been working overtime recently.

  • Looking at the little damage at the base of the escalator it looks like the train was airborne and then came down and rested on top of the midsection of the escalator. By going airborne after hitting the bumping post, more-serious injuries were probably prevented by not abruptly slamming into the end of the track pit.

  • In reply to Edgewater Roadie:

    This seems like a more credible theory (but the video will tell).

    The new twist was the NTSB investigator saying today that the brakes were engaged and the train was not speeding, but the train did not stop. That would tend to rule out the signal system.

  • In reply to Edgewater Roadie:

    Someone posted a YouTube video that supports your theory. The video was embedded on although it seems to be added to YouTube and then deleted, but a search for CTA Blue Line will probably find it.

  • In reply to jack:

    Tribune source and some discussion about the possible source of the video.


  • Anyone have any idea as to what could force 3061 completely off of it's trucks? (in the 2nd photo it's front truck is under it's rear end - and it's rear truck is under the front of 3062).

  • I had read a theory that the bumper buckled under, creating a ramp of sorts for the train car to ride up.

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