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CTA Blue Line Crash at O'Hare

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Operator fell asleep?

Looks like we've got some footage for the next Blues Brothers movie.

1458502_10203531067387427_1870806376_n.j

1016007_10203530941904290_186722615_o.jp

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When I saw a picture of the scene on Twitter, I thought it was a Photoshop; had to double check the Trib and a few other web sites to make sure this was a true story (sorry, but these are skeptical times we live in). I forgot that O'Hare was a three-track station, which is probably why I initially questioned the legitimacy of the photo at first.

Just be thankful this was during Owl service and not rush hour.

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Operator fell asleep?...

A little better footage on ABC7, indicates lead car was 3061.

My first reaction was "they are sure making sure to retire 3000s," but that and your "asleep" point bring up the somewhat similar Forest Park crash. If things were working normally, if she were asleep, the deadman should have stopped the train, and if not that, the signal system should have slowed it to under 15 mph approaching the station and the end of the line. It must have been going at the pretty high rate of speed to jump the bumper and onto the raised portion of the station floor, as opposed to the 20 mph collision in Forest Park, which basically just collapsed the fronts.

The NTSB was sent, and I guess we'll find out in a year.

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Operator fell asleep?

Seriously, was thinking about the Logan Sq.-Western line cut last night before going to sleep - about how service around 2-3 in the morning is normally every 1/2 hour on the Blue line and wondering if service was increased at that time so trains wouldn't be missed and people waiting 30 minutes between trains after getting off the bus shuttles. Also, if there are additional operators and reflecting on how hard it is to work and stay awake about 3 in the morning, if some operators are being rescheduled to improve service to 15 minutes during construction, and what kind of a burden that places on a those operators normal sleeping patterns. Then woke up to the news story about this.

Does anyone know if the normal schedule was kept this last weekend or if there were extras scheduled to avoid up to 1/2 hour waits overnight? (1-3am ish)

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My guess, the motorman fell asleep at the controls! She was alert and talking from what one of my fire paramedics stated to me. So there was very little chance she had a seizure at the controls of the train. Its going to be interesting to hear what the motorman has to say about how this happened. Im pointing to human error!. Thank god no one was killed!

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... Im pointing to human error!. Thank god no one was killed!

More than likely the initial cause, but again doesn't explain why the signal system didn't stop or slow the train. There probably were also track trips.

You can bet, though, that the way Claypool works, the disciplinary citation has already been written.

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It was said that possibly the high rate of speed the train was reportedly traveling, plus it was an eight car train. That its possible the momentum was too much for the signal system/trip system to physically stop the train. OHare has the white trip switches in the platform area. If it turns out it was human error and the motorman was at fault, then Im with Claypool on this one! I doubt disciplinary action, but termination! This person could have killed many people had this happened a few hours later!

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Does any one know up to what speeds the bumpers at the end of the track are built to withstand?

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Does any one know up to what speeds the bumpers at the end of the track are built to withstand?

I don't, but the issue doesn't seem whether the bumper could withstand the impact, but how fast the train must have been going to be propelled about 10 feet above and 40 feet past it to end up where it did on the escalator. The normal assumption is that the train would have hit the concrete at platform level and crumpled, not fly into the air.

Any physicists out there?

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Does any one know up to what speeds the bumpers at the end of the track are built to withstand?

According to what I'm reading 12 mph. With the train catapulting and going up the stairs looks to have been traveling 30 mph plus. I bet the platform is damaged too.

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I guess the question of the day is a two-parter....

What is happening to the Blue Line equipment? What is wrong with the emergency infrastructure? That's twice in less than six months a major incident involving the Blue Line has occurred(Ghost Train crash 9/30/13, Above Speed crash 3/24/14). I agree with cta5750 about the fact that the train should've been slowed down at least by trip switches, but wasn't. If trip switches did indeed work, the train would've looked something like #3177 at the front when it hit the end of the O-Hare stop, and not flew up onto the platform and escalator.

One has to wonder if the emergency trip switches need a overhaul system-wide. Scariest place something like this could occur would be twenty feet off the ground on an elevated section of track.

My opinion... I know the train emits a high-pitched noise from the Operator cab when the train needs to be slowed(I hear it sometimes when I'm in the 1st car). I think what the CTA should do is put a timing device on this where if the Operator doesn't slow the train down by a set time(say 30 seconds), a onboard device cuts power to the train motor and activates emergency braking while automatically contacting CTA control and the CFD. Maybe this already happens in an emergency(e.g: Operator passes out, etc...), but I don't honestly know. Maybe a "L" insider or Rail Operator would know for sure.

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...

My opinion... I know the train emits a high-pitched noise from the Operator cab when the train needs to be slowed(I hear it sometimes when I'm in the 1st car). I think what the CTA should do is put a timing device on this where if the Operator doesn't slow the train down by a set time(say 30 seconds), a onboard device cuts power to the train motor and activates emergency braking ...

According to all the literature, that is exactly what it is supposed to do. Even in the accounts relating to the Forest Park collision, they said the train stopped at each signal, and then inexplicably started again.

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The NTSB news conference was just on WGN. While, as predicted, no conclusions stated, it was stated that they do have video both from the station cameras and a forward facing camera in the train, and data recordings from the signal system.

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As far as the future of the railcar pair 3061-3062, I think there will be a mis-mate in the future or another retired and later scrapped pair according to the Tribune article, particularly this quote...

"Steele said workers may have to cut up the car and remove it piece by piece, which could take 12 to 24 hours"

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As far as the future of the railcar pair 3061-3062, I think there will be a mis-mate in the future or another retired and later scrapped pair according to the Tribune article, particularly this quote...

"Steele said workers may have to cut up the car and remove it piece by piece, which could take 12 to 24 hours"

Aside from that one, the last thing said on WGN was that the NTSB said that the site had to be left as is (other than shoring up the car) at least for today for the investigation, and then CTA will be allowed to haul it out. So, expect the station to be closed for a couple of days.

Personally, I don't think there will be any mismates, but about at least 4 scrap cars.

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Operator fell asleep?

Looks like we've got some footage for the next Blues Brothers movie.

Or... another Die Hard movie. Other news is that the operator had been working since 8 p.m. Sunday night. IMO operator partied saturday night, got little sleep sunday etc. etc. etc.... I am sticking to the 'sleep' theory. I'm waiting to find their theory as to why the speed did not trip the auto-shut off.

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Aside from that one, the last thing said on WGN was that the NTSB said that the site had to be left as is (other than shoring up the car) at least for today for the investigation, and then CTA will be allowed to haul it out. So, expect the station to be closed for a couple of days.

Personally, I don't think there will be any mismates, but about at least 4 scrap cars.

Yeah, those cars are done. The question is how long will O'Hare be out of service? If you compare it to the Cermak Chinatown escalator climb, that entrance was out of service for a week I believe. They are probably going to shore up that escalator for weeks now and people can just use the stairs and elevators. What a mess, probably won't be back to normal for a month or two.

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I don't, but the issue doesn't seem whether the bumper could withstand the impact, but how fast the train must have been going to be propelled about 10 feet above and 40 feet past it to end up where it did on the escalator. The normal assumption is that the train would have hit the concrete at platform level and crumpled, not fly into the air.

Any physicists out there?

One would imagine that the train would have crumbled at the bumber unless the bumper had some sort of ramp at the bottom of it to cause the train to lift into the air. Most of the bumpers I have seen don't have anything at the bottom that would cause a train to be lifte into the air so this is all puzzling.

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Or... another Die Hard movie.

Or Silver Streak where the train goes through the bumper and lands in the station.

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One would imagine that the train would have crumbled at the bumber unless the bumper had some sort of ramp at the bottom of it to cause the train to lift into the air. Most of the bumpers I have seen don't have anything at the bottom that would cause a train to be lifte into the air so this is all puzzling.

That was another of the cryptic comments from the NTSB person. When asked if he had ever seen an accident like this, he said, no, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't happened, just that he hasn't seen it.

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Operator fell asleep?

Looks like we've got some footage for the next Blues Brothers movie.

1458502_10203531067387427_1870806376_n.j

1016007_10203530941904290_186722615_o.jp

Holy crap! When Twitter told me it was a derailment, I thought they meant a train at one of the yard switches or before the actual station...

There might be track trips along each platform at intervals. I remember seeing small signals underneath the platform edges.

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One would imagine that the train would have crumbled at the bumber unless the bumper had some sort of ramp at the bottom of it to cause the train to lift into the air. Most of the bumpers I have seen don't have anything at the bottom that would cause a train to be lifte into the air so this is all puzzling.

I can envision a couple scenarios where shearing of either the front or rear support members could cause the bumper itself to partially colapse, forming into a makeshift ramp. That should become clearer once the cars are removed and the damage underneath can be seen.

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I can envision a couple scenarios where shearing of either the front or rear support members could cause the bumper itself to partially colapse, forming into a makeshift ramp. That should become clearer once the cars are removed and the damage underneath can be seen.

Whatever caused the first car to jump clear the platform and then get pushed up the escalator is good in this case as the cars themselves weren't crushed, potentially causing more injuries or death.

Also: Looking at some of the pictures(blown up) from the Chicago Tribune, the middle track/impacted train looks like an 8-car set, so in addition to the Logan Sq-Western line cut going on at the time of the accident which would have impacted scheduling for operators, twice as many trips on a shortened line would be tiring, especially close to 3am --- an 8 car set is twice the weight of a 4 car set, normally run at this time and requires a much longer stopping distance. I wonder if the NTSB will be looking at additional circumstances like this caused by the line cut.

EDIT: The additional circumstances are caused by the line cut: longer train, more runs, shorter trackage per run. I'm not saying the line cut caused the accident.

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Whatever caused the first car to jump clear the platform and then get pushed up the escalator is good in this case as the cars themselves weren't crushed, potentially causing more injuries or death.

...

Susan Carlson said (in response to that fortunately it was late, so not too many people were on the train) "Lucky, no one was on the escalator, either."

Compare that to the person who was killed when the truck ran off the Chinatown feeder into the Red Line station and up the escalator.

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