With one the largest, oldest, and most extensive public transit systems in the nation, concerns over safety are nothing new to the resident of Chicago. Railway safety, in particular, has become an increasingly concerning problem in recent years. Train-to-train collisions, rail crossing accidents, derailment, plat-form jumping—train component failures and operating errors—speeding, switch position mistakes, door opening issues—the list goes on and on. The Train Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of recent developments in Metra’s ongoing efforts to prevent accidents and close-call incidents—Installation of Control Systems and Union approval to launch a Confidential Reporting Program.
The Bus and Train Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. take note of the continued increase in Chicago Transit Authority employee firings, since 2011, when Forrest Claypool took over as president of the agency. According to reports, roughly 900 CTA employees have been dismissed under Claypool’s watch, a significant portion of which were related to violation of agency rules. As personal injury lawyers, we certainly welcome Claypool’s efforts to clean-up the transit authority. Yet, when considering both the reasons behind such dismissals, as well as the reinstatement of approximately a fifth of these workers, we remain concerned over the safety of public transportation passengers.
Our Chicago Train Accident and Injury Attorneys are amongst the many residents that remain in astonishment following the recent CTA derailment, which many say mirrors the type of event that you would see only in movies. With more than 30 victims transported to area hospitals, and the operator’s recent admission that she “dozed-off” prior to the collision, in addition to doing so on a previous occasion, multiple lawsuits are expected to be filed as a result of this horrendous incident.
The accident occurred in the early morning hours on Monday, March 24, 2014. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a CTA Blue Line Train was pulling into O’Hare International Airport, when it jumped the platform, causing the front car to derail and travel up onto an escalator at the station. Officials estimate the train was traveling approximately 25 mph prior to the derailment, but it is unclear at this time how fast train was traveling upon reaching the end of the platform. It is also unclear why the train’s automatic braking system failed to stop the train.
While no individuals on the platform or escalator were injured, more than thirty passengers aboard the train, ranging in age from 38 to 72, sustained varying degrees of injury , including whiplash, headache, bruising, knee injuries, as well as emotional trauma. Victims were transported to four area hospitals for medical treatment.
Our train injury lawyers have learned that the railroad experts investigating the CTA Blue Line crash on September 30, 2013, considered emergency recommendations to the Chicago Transit Authority. According to Jon Hilkevitch of Chicago Tribune, the recommendations “could signal concerns of a future accident.”
The accident happened when an empty out-of-service CTA train hit a stopped Blue Line CTA train carrying passengers, injuring many of the passengers.
According to the NTSB’s letter to Forrest Claypool of the CTA,” the unoccupied train had been stored at Forest Park Repair Terminal awaiting repairs when it began moving under power and departed the terminal entering main line track. The train traveled almost one mile downhill through five mechanical train stop mechanisms before reaching the Harlem Station. The emergency brakes were applied and the train was momentarily stopped several times by the mechanical train stop mechanisms as it proceeded to the Harlem Station. Following each stop, train movement resumed because the master lever on the operator console had been left in a setting that allowed the train car brakes to recover and reset from the emergency brake application and proceed through a mechanical train stop mechanism after a momentary stop.”