Those who regularly rely on the Chicago Transit Authority to get them where they’re going know that while service is usually reliable, problems can and do arise. We recently wrote about the bus passenger who spotted a CTA bus driver taking both hands off the wheel in order to eat some ice cream.
But most CTA horror stories pale in comparison to the one that occurred yesterday. Officials are still struggling to explain what exactly caused the train accident that injured dozens of commuters at a station about 10 miles west of Chicago.
News sources say that as many as four dozen passengers suffered injuries while aboard a train parked at the Harlem Avenue station. For reasons currently unknown, a four-car train with no one on it or operating it was headed in the wrong direction when it collided with the stationary one.
Many CTA employees said that this incident was unprecedented, which makes it even harder to determine what might have caused it. The president of the Amalgamated Transit Union told reporters that “If it wasn’t a goof or there is someone not telling us something, that creates a big problem because if one train can start moving without anybody doing anything, then it can happen to another train.”
In addition to not knowing what caused the accident, it may be too early to fully assess the damage caused by it, including injuries suffered by passengers. It seems as though some passengers were warned to brace themselves just before impact, while others received no warning at all. In light of this, several passengers may have suffered whiplash, concussions and other serious injuries.
While it was fortunate that no one was killed, the CTA will likely have a lot of explaining to do in the coming weeks and months. Furthermore, injured passengers may be considering legal action against the Chicago Transit Authority for reimbursement of medical bills and other compensation.
Source: CBS News, “Nobody at controls in Chicago train crash, dozens injured,” Sept. 30, 2013