Chicago commuter train crashes into rail equipment, 40 injured


A Chicago commuter train collided with rail equipment on Thursday morning, injuring nearly 40 people, some of them critically, fire officials said. The Chicago Fire Department said the Chicago Transit Authority train crashed into snow-removal equipment just before 10.35 am on the city’s North Side near the Howard CTA station. The Yellow Line train carrying 31 commuters and seven CTA workers was southbound from Skokie when it collided with the slower-moving rail equipment, said Robert Jurewicz, the Chicago Fire Department’s second district chief.

Thirty-eight people, including four children, were injured. Twenty-three were taken to area hospitals and three of those injured were in critical condition, although no one suffered life-threatening injuries, said Keith Gray, assistant deputy chief paramedic. The train’s operator was among the most seriously hurt, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The children suffered bumps and bruises, the newspaper reported. He said the 15 others who were on the train declined medical treatment at the scene. The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it was sending a team to investigate the incident.

Shayla Smith, who was headed to work in Wilmette, had just boarded a Purple Line train at Howard when she heard the collision. She said passengers on her train began screaming, and she saw an elderly woman nearly fall out of her seat. “I just heard like a horrible boom sound,” she told the Sun-Times. “It was like a weird boom sound. It felt like we’re gonna tip over and I was wondering what’s going on? My body shivered.” Television video showed one end of the train crushed and pushed in. As passengers were led off the train, some were brought into a triage centre lined with stretchers to be assessed, with at least one seen bleeding heavily from the head.


At least 15 ambulances were dispatched to the scene. CTA officials said the cause of the crash remains under investigation. Train service on CTA’s Red, Purple, and Yellow lines had been temporarily suspended due to the crash, the commuter service said on its website.