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CTA service resumes after Red Line train derails between Armitage and Fullerton

May 9, 2013 8:36:33 PM PDT
Service was restored to Red, Brown and Purple Line trains after a train derailed in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, though the stretch of track between Armitage and Fullerton has become a "slow zone."

The Chicago Transit Authority says the last car of an eight-car southbound Red Line train derailed as it was approaching the Armitage station around 11:30 a.m. The train had just moved across a set of switches and was moving at less than 10 m.p.h. when the derailment occurred.

Residents in the area reported hearing a loud boom.

"Just a loud crash, like a car accident you would hear, just a lot louder. And it shook the whole building," said nearby resident Alex Corkum.

Riders on the train said it jolted and came to a grinding halt.

"The car started jumping. And they stopped it. All the power went out. Everything was just done, no air conditioning - nothing," said CTA passenger Anna Gevondian.

64 passengers evacuated from derailed train

Passengers on the derailed train were stranded for what they say was 20 to 30 minutes, after which a northbound Red Line train was brought alongside their train cars. Wooden planks allowed them to cross to the northbound train, where they waited again until they could be ferried to safety by firefighters. However, two people needed to be removed by rescue chairs, and another by an elevated bucket.

While there were no serious injuires reported, one woman who was hyperventilating was taken to the hospital.

Travel disrupted for 4 hours

Train service was suspended on the Red Line between Belmont and Grand, and on the Brown Line between Belmont and Clark/Lake. The CTA provided shuttle busses between the Loop and the Belmont stop to try to fill the gaps in service.

CTA crews were able to right the derailed train and move it within four hours. The CTA reports that the track damage was minimal.

The CTA says they have not determined the cause.

"We don't know if it was an issue with the rail car, with the signal, or possibly some kind of human error. That's all part of what we'll be looking into," said CTA Spokesperson Brian Steele.

The stretch of Red Line carries nearly 250,000 passengers on an average weekday.


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