'El' Derails in South Loop

Train service returns to normal

By Kim Vatis
|  Thursday, Jan 14, 2010  |  Updated 3:27 PM CDT
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Chicago's Pantsless CTA Ride

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A pair of El riders sustained minor injuries this morning when a CTA Red Line train jumped the tracks just as it was leaving a station in the South Loop.

Service resumed shortly before 6 a.m. after the train was removed and the track was inspected for damage.

The four-car train began departing the Roosevelt Station when it hit a switch and jumped the tracks onto a platform, " an unusual sight," as First Battalion Chief Michael Gubricki put it.

Passengers watched in disbelief as it happened.

"As we approached the station we felt a jerk," said passenger Jason Hicks. "The train fell off the tracks onto the platform and sparks flashed and there was smoke everywhere."

About 20 passengers were on board when it happened around 1:15 am, but only two reported injuries. They were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital and treated for minor injuries before being released.

The remaining passengers were escorted above ground by rescue workers and put aboard shuttle buses.

Train service was shut down for about 4 ½ hours while crews worked to clear the tracks. Officials have not determined a cause.

Tracks were cleared by about 5:45 and trains were operating fine. Morning commuters should not be affected by derailment. 

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