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Chicago Train Derailment (Update: 1 death reported)
Fox News story ^

Posted on 09/17/2005 8:15:39 AM PDT by George from New England

Just heard the headline at 11 AM Eastern Time

(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: accident; bushsfault; chicago; rail; train
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To: sneakers
Metra Rail - Chicago

The people stationed at Great Lakes Naval would take the UP-N Line.

This derailment was on the line headed south out of Chicago - the far eastern one shown in blue then purple going out of the city near the 47th st. stop.

41 posted on 09/17/2005 11:40:26 PM PDT by NotJustAnotherPrettyFace
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To: George from New England
Agency Blames Speed for Train Derailment
By MIKE COLIAS,
Associated Press Writer

12 minutes ago

A commuter train was going almost 60 mph above the speed limit just before it derailed, killing two people and injuring dozens of others, the acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.

Mark Rosenker said the Metra train was traveling at 69 mph and should not have been going faster than 10 mph when it switched tracks at a crossover just before jumping the tracks Saturday.

"Sixty-nine miles an hour is very, very fast when you're dealing with a 10-mile-an-hour restriction," Rosenker said.

The speed information came from a preliminary reading of one of the train's three electronic data recorders, popularly known as "black boxes," Rosenker said.

Investigators conducted a three-hour interview Sunday with the train's engineer. The 41-year-old man had been on the job for 45 days after completing Metra's six-month training program, which included at least some training along the route where the derailment occurred. He also had worked for more than five years as a CSX Corp. freight train engineer.

The double-decker commuter train was headed into Chicago from Joliet on Saturday morning with 185 passengers and four crew members when its locomotive and five rail cars jumped the tracks about 5 miles south of downtown.

The train began to derail as it switched tracks, striking a steel bridge just beyond the crossover. Rosenker said that collision damaged at least one rail car and likely contributed to at least one of the fatalities.

The train and the track had just been inspected Friday, said Judy Pardonnet, a spokeswoman for Metra, the commuter rail system that services the Chicago area.

Transportation officials also determined Sunday that train signals were working, meaning the engineer should have known he was approaching a crossover and should have had time to slow the train upon seeing the signals, even if he was traveling 69 mph, Rosenker said.

Extensive damage to the train's undercarriage has prevented investigators from examining its brakes, but it appears the brakes engaged as the train was switching tracks. It was unclear if the engineer applied the brakes or if they engaged automatically, Rosenker said.

The train engineer, three crew members and dispatchers were all tested for drugs and alcohol, which is standard procedure, Pardonnet said.

On Monday, the NTSB planned to examine radio transmissions from a control tower and interview a dispatcher and trainee who were working in the tower at the time of the accident.

The train's engineer is taking three days of paid leave for "trauma debriefing." Pardonnet said no decisions have been made about his future employment, although findings from the NTSB investigation could determine whether he keeps his job.

A similar derailment occurred on the same stretch of track in 2003, injuring about 45 people. A preliminary NTSB report found that the train was going almost 70 mph at the location where it was supposed to switch from one track to the other.

Pardonnet said the two derailments may have been just a coincidence. "I don't think it's anything specific to this area, but it's still under investigation," she said.

Jane Cuthbert, 22, of Bourbonnais, died on the train, Pardonnet said. A 30-year-old woman died at a hospital.

They were the first people killed in a Metra derailment since it took over commuter rail services in the region in 1984.

The injured passengers were taken to 15 hospitals, and 15 of them remained hospitalized Sunday, Pardonnet said. She did not have information on their conditions.

Train service on the Rock Island District Line resumed about four hours after the derailment, and the cleanup from the accident could cause short delays during Monday's commute, Pardonnet said.

42 posted on 09/18/2005 8:34:00 PM PDT by gg188
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