CTA bulletin orders steps to keep out-of-service trains from moving
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporter October 3, 2013 11:24PM
At least 33 people were taken to the hospital Monday morning after two CTA trains collided at the Harlem station on the Blue Line in west suburban Forest Park. | Ashlee Rezin/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 4, 2013 12:30AM
The CTA sent a bulletin Thursday night to all rail yard employees ordering a number of precautionary steps to ensure that train cars undergoing maintenance stay in place. The bulletin comes after an out-of service train somehow began moving and crashed into a train carrying passengers Monday morning at the Harlem station on the Blue Line.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said the bulletin was sent as a proactive measure while the National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate what went wrong.
“We wanted to look at adding some redundancies to the controls we already have in place, so we added a few things related to the procedures of storing cars in for repair,” Steele said. “Some of it is re-emphasizing procedures already in place, and some are new things,” said Steele, who compared the new safety redundancies to wearing a “belt and suspenders, and another belt.”
On Monday, the Blue Line train, which apparently was unmanned and wasn’t carrying any passengers, rolled out of a nearby rail yard and rammed into an occupied train at the Harlem station in Forest Park during the morning rush hour. More than 30 people were injured in the crash.
Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone said on Tuesday that authorities who had examined the crash site had so far concluded that “no human was on” the train and they were “mostly leaning toward some type of mechanical malfunction.”
“That train shouldn’t have been moving,’’ Calderone said Tuesday. “It’s bizarre. . . . The NTSB has a complicated task in front of them, and that’s trying to get to the bottom of it.’’
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 President Robert Kelly, who joined NTSB investigators at the crash scene Tuesday, has said that the train slipped past two switches and an internal device that should have stopped it before it rammed into a train loaded with about 40 passengers at the Harlem station.
Its journey apparently took it from the Forest Park CTA service yard, where it was awaiting repairs; past a turnaround; through the Forest Park station and then into the Harlem station. CTA officials said the “out-of-service” train was traveling the wrong way on outbound tracks when it crashed into the occupied outbound Blue Line train at Harlem.