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Sneed: An ‘L’ of question in Blue Line train crash

Scene CTA tracollisiblue line Harlem stop Forest Park Monday Sept. 30 2013.  | J.Geil/for Sun-Times Media

Scene of CTA train collision at blue line Harlem stop in Forest Park, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. | J.Geil/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 3, 2013 6:33AM

The runaway train . . .

Hmmmm. Is it true that the out-of-service CTA train that rammed a stopped train Monday had a habit of “jumping gears”?

The National Transit Safety Board has so far found no criminal activity regarding the flight of the ghost train.

But the investigation continues: Sneed hears the damaged train will be transported via truck to the Skokie rail yard, where the NTSB plans further investigation.

◆ Questions. Questions. The NTSB investigators, who are in town probing the incident, are being mighty mum with the media.

◆ The irony: The NTSB press office in Washington. D.C., which is handling all media inquiries, is closed because of the federal government shutdown!

Scoopsville . . .

◆ Opening shot: Sneed is told failure by Congress to pass a farm bill by Tuesday’s deadline means money could run out for food stamps for low-income families.

◆ The rescue shot: Sneed is told the USDA is promising to do all it can with stimulus funds to continue operations and benefit payments through Oct. 31. But after that it’s anyone’s guess unless Congress passes a farm bill. . . .

The money game . . .

$$$$$ Credit Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle with coming up with one helluva way to save money.

It’s called payment — for a price.

◆ The plan: Cook County vendors, who normally wait on average a month and a half for payments, can now get paid in a prompt fashion — but they’ll have to pay for it!

◆ Translation: The county is offering a payment option to vendors: A 2 percent fee on their invoices if they want to be paid within 20 days — and a 1 percent fee for payment within 30 days.

Shutdown eatdown . . .

President Obama — you’re on your own for dinner.

◆ Translation: Sam Kass, who typically cooks the president’s evening meal, is on furlough because of the government shutdown. One chef will remain on duty until funding is restored.

A papal twofer?

Sneed hears rumbles Pope Francis may not be the only papal presence when he canonizes both John Paul II and John XXIII on the same day, April 27.

◆ His predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has been living in a monastery inside Vatican walls, also is expected to attend the canonization ceremony.

Firth, no more . . .

Actor Colin Firth, who plays the romantic Mr. Darcy in the hit Bridget Jones films starring actress Renee Zellweger, apparently will not be in any subsequent film made from the new Bridget Jones novel “Mad About the Boy,” which hits bookshelves in two weeks.

◆ Bye-bye Colin: Bridget Jones’ last name is now Darcy — she’s a 51-year-old mother of two . . . and a widow.

I spy . . .

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane stopped by Rosebud on Sunday for a pasta lunch, perhaps to carbo-load in preparation for the season opener . . . and the Cup itself will come by Carmine’s on Wednesday night!

Murphy’s law . . .

Begorrah! Bad timing! The Irish Fellowship Club left Tuesday for a tour of Washington, D.C.

◆ The buckshot: All the monuments and Smithsonian museums are closed because of the shutdown.

◆ The jump shot: “We will still will have a good time,” chirped Kathy Taylor, the club’s executive director.

P . . . eeeew news . . .

Holy cow and beef grief! The burger of the month at Kuma’s Corner has been baptized “The Ghost,” with toppings including ghost chile aioli, braised goat, a red-wine reduction and an unconsecrated communion wafer.

Sneedlings . . .

Wednesday’s birthdays: Sting, 62; Donna Karan, 65, and Rex Reed, 75.

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