More than 30 people were injured early Monday morning when a Chicago commuter train sped through its underground stop at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, jumped the platform, and mounted an escalator.
Chicago Transit Authority personnel are working with city fire and police officials to determine why the eight-car Blue Line train was traveling at an excessive speed in the moments before the crash. According to the Associated Press, the train appeared to have been speeding as it approached the station at the end of its line and failed to stop at a bumping post that serves as a shock absorber at the end of the track.
The crash occurred around 2:50 a.m., one of the least busy times of the day for the train in terms of passenger volume. CTA’s Blue Line provides rapid mass transit between Chicago-O’Hare airport and Forest Park via downtown Chicago.
“We will be looking at equipment. We will be looking at signals. We’ll be looking at the human factor and any extenuating circumstances,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said in a press conference. “But really at this point, it’s far too soon to speculate.”
Those injured in the crash were all riding aboard the train at the time. Six of the passengers were in serious condition with injuries and the 26 others suffered from non-life-threatening injuries. Many passengers were able to walk away from the wreck uninjured.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) began investigating the crash Monday afternoon. Workers will then disassemble the train and clear out the wreckage. The train stop was expected to be closed to commuters for up to two days. CTA is providing buses to shuttle passengers around the closed stop.
Monday’s crash was the second time in less than a year that CTA’s Blue Line has been involved in a crash. On Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, two CTA Blue Line trains collided in Forest Park, injuring 33. That crash occurred when one train laden with commuters hit “an out-of-service, driverless CTA ‘ghost train’ that breached multiple safeguards,” as it embarked upon on a “bizarre half-mile journey,” the Chicago Tribune reported.