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CTA service back to normal following North Side derailment

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Updated: May 9, 2013 5:53PM



Lost in her thoughts and the chugging of the train, a sudden jerk jostled her from her seat and reverie, said Roslyn Porter, 48, a passenger on a CTA train that derailed Thursday.

The last car of an eight-car Red Line train had run off the track as the southbound train approached Armitage Avenue, forcing it to a stop, the Chicago Transportation Authority said.

No injuries were reported, but the Chicago Fire Dept. transported one person who apparently had an anxiety attack to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Fire Dept. spokesman Larry Langford said.

Service did not get back to normal until 3:05 p.m., CTA officials said.

“The train is going, and all of a sudden, there were a lot of real bad jerks,” said Porter, of South Chicago. “The fire and police departments escorted us down the tracks to the platform.”

With 164 people on the train, the 11:20 a.m. incident stranded passengers and snarled service on the Red, Brown and Purple lines between Lincoln Park and downtown Thursday afternoon.

“After the one big jerk, the train stopped, tried again to go, jerked and came to a complete stop,” said another passenger, Kevin Delaney, 30, of Chatham. “Then the operator came through the cars telling us to sit tight and be patient. We had to sit there like 30 to 40 minutes.”

Passengers in the last car were moved to other cars, CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski said. Fire officials shut power to the tracks upon arrival, and lay chains down as a precaution.

Some 100 passengers debarked onto a northbound train that pulled alongside, while fire and police personnel escorted 64 passengers the 150 feet to the next platform, Langford said.

“High voltage is always a concern,” Asst. Deputy Fire Commissioner Mark Nielsen said at the scene. “We ended up transporting one person, who was a little shaky.”

That passenger was lowered to the ground by bucket. Two others were carried to the platform.

Six ambulances and some 75 fire personnel responded.

“I had to call my job after we got stuck and tell them I’ll be late,” said Simrik Tuladsar, 31, of Rogers Park. “I didn’t realize it was going to be two hours later, getting off the train and walking on tracks. Now I have to figure out what bus to take, and CTA isn’t helping us.”

That was a frequent complaint by stranded passengers, who said CTA never clearly communicated alternative transportation options, nor reimburse for the misfired trip.

“They didn’t tell us anything, or even offer bus cards, nothing,” said Anthony Wilson, 35, of Englewood. “CTA is just raggedy. It doesn’t even care about its customers.”

Hosinski said it was unclear what was communicated. The agency is investigating the complaints. At one point, there was no Red Line service between Belmont and Cermak-Chinatown, and no Brown Line service between Belmont and Clark-Lake. Mostly affected was Red Line service between Belmont and Grand; Brown Line service between Belmont and Merchandise Mart; and the mid-day start of Purple Line service.



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