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CTA delays, briefly halts Brown Line L service in Loop after fire-caused delays at Merchandise Mart

The CTA halted Brown Line L service Loop Saturday night after fire caused trains back up north Merchandise Mart with

The CTA halted Brown Line L service in the Loop Saturday night after a fire caused trains to back up north of the Merchandise Mart, with delays of over an hour. | Paul Saltzman~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 4, 2014 6:33PM



The CTA briefly halted Brown Line L service in the Loop Saturday night after a fire caused trains to back up north of the Merchandise Mart, with delays of over an hour.

“Brown Line service has been temporarily suspended between Merchandise Mart and the Loop,” the CTA said in an announcement on Twitter around 6 p.m.

Shortly after, the mass transit agency said on its website: “Some Brown Line trains are operating with residual delays after earlier fire department activity near Merchandise Mart. Trains are moving and normal service is being restored.”

The CTA had been turning southbound Brown Line L trains back north at the Merchandise Mart after more than an hour of delays because of a small fire on the tracks.

“I saw a burst of yellow flames for a good half minute,” said Peter James, who was visiting from Britain and was among those who had to get off one of the stalled trains. “It was very quick. I thought it was serious.”

The fire occurred around 4:30 p.m., and the smoke hung in the air as one train stood idle for more than an hour, despite assurances from a CTA operator that “the train will be moving shortly.”

Dispatchers said the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical.

Meanwhile, other Brown Line trains were first delayed and then turned back at the Mart, according to riders and announcements made by train operators.

One train pulled part-way into the Merchandise Mart station around 5:30 p.m., with only the front car alongside the platform, because another train occupied the rest of the platform.

The operator said the train was “trapped” and would be turning back north and told riders to walk through to the front car to exit.

Calls made to the CTA were not immediately returned.



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