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Here's How Often a CTA Train Has Derailed in the Past 10 Years

How likely is a derailment on Chicago Transit Authority lines? NBC 5 Investigates looked at the past 10 years

NBC 5 Investigates has tracked 27 reported derailments of CTA trains over the past 10 years, most all of them described as "minor," though some, including Thursday's derailment on the Green Line, resulted in injuries.

This includes the derailment of a Blue Line train just eight weeks ago, as it was approaching the O’Hare Terminal station. That derailment was apparently because of a switching problem, and a 39-year-old passenger suffered a back injury.

Among these incidents was a major one: the March 2014 crash of a Blue Line train at O'Hare after the driver dozed off, sending the train barreling up the escalator at the O’Hare Station.

That crash, caught on surveillance cameras, caused millions of dollars in damages, injured more than 30 people and resulted in a finding by the National Transportation Safety Board that all transit agencies should better-address the issue of driver fatigue.

At least two passengers in that crash have settled damage claims with the CTA, totaling more than $10 million

Here is a list of reported derailments of CTA train cars: 

June 6, 2019: One car of a southbound Green Line train derailed near 47th Street in the Bronzeville neighborhood. Seven people were sent to the hospital, but apparently none had serious injuries. 

April 10, 2019: A CTA Blue Line train derailed as it slowly approached the O’Hare Terminal station just after the evening rush hour. Seventy-three passengers were evacuated, and one of them, a 39-year-old woman, suffered a back injury.

Dec. 7, 2017: One car of a Red Line train was involved in what was described as a "minor" derailment near the State/Lake Station in the Loop. No one was hurt.

July 18, 2016: A Blue Line train derailed near the Illinois Medical District on the Near West Side. No injuries were reported. 

Feb. 23, 2016: A Yellow Line train derailed near the Dempster Station in Skokie, but no customers were on the train, and no one was injured. 

Nov. 19, 2015: A Brown Line train derailed in a rail yard near the Kimball Station, injuring the engineer.

Oct. 31, 2015: A Red Line train partially derailed near the Granville Station in the Edgewater neighborhood. It took more than hour to get everybody – about 175 people – off the train, and one person went to the hospital with a shoulder injury. 

Aug. 23, 2015: A southbound CTA Green Line train jumped the tracks near 63rd and Ashland, in a derailment that a CTA spokesperson described as "minor." Nobody was injured.

Aug. 5, 2015: No one was injured after a four-car Green Line train derailed on a curve near a rail yard on the South Side. Chicago firefighters evacuated 78 passengers. 

Sept. 10, 2014: An inbound Blue Line train derailed near the Pulaski station on the West Side, when a wheel slipped off the track. No one was hurt and a CTA spokesperson described the accident as "minor."

Aug. 8, 2014: A CTA Blue Line train derailed by the platform at the Forest Park station, in what was described as a "minor" derailment with no injuries.

June 17, 2014: A set of wheels on an Orange Line train came off the tracks at the LaSalle and Van Buren station on the south end of the Loop. No one was injured, but people in the area reported "hundreds of pieces of steel" falling off the elevated tracks. CTA officials said they were rail fasteners, but it wasn’t clear if the pieces fell off the tracks because of the derailment, or if they’d been left there before. CTA workers repaired the tracks overnight. 

April 11, 2014: A Blue Line train derailed near the Cicero Station on the West Side after hitting what turned out to be a semitrailer truck tire. No one was hurt.

March 24, 2014: A Blue Line train barreled into the O’Hare Terminal station and landed on an escalator, injuring more than 30 people and causing millions of dollars in damage. The driver of the train later said she had dozed off just before the crash. The NTSB investigated and recommended that all mass-transit agencies, including the CTA, should better address the possibility of worker fatigue when scheduling their motormen. At least two passengers settled lawsuits for their injuries in that O’Hare derailment, totaling more than $10 million in payouts.

Feb. 7, 2014: A southbound Purple Line train experienced what a CTA spokesperson called a "minor derailment" in North Rogers Park. Service was halted but nobody was hurt.

Jan. 7, 2014: One wheel of one train on a Yellow Line train came off the rail as the train was coming into the Howard station, but nobody was injured.

Oct. 7, 2013: On the Brown Line, a single wheel on one car of a train derailed on the tracks near the Kimball Station. Ambulances came to the scene, but nobody was reported injured.

Sept. 9, 2013: A Blue Line train derailed as it approached the O’Hare Terminal station, when two wheels of one car came off the track. Two people were examined for injuries, but a Fire Department spokesperson said nobody was seriously hurt.

Aug. 22, 2013: A Red Line train derailed on the CTA’s Green Line tracks early on a Monday morning, as the train pulled into the station at Ashland and 63rd. No one was injured, and CTA officials could not immediately explain what caused the derailment.

May 9, 2013: A Red Line train derailed near the Armitage Avenue station. One person, who was apparently suffering from anxiety, went to the hospital.

Nov. 9, 2012: An Orange Line train derailed in a train yard near Midway Airport. No passengers were aboard, but two CTA employees had minor injuries.

Nov. 5, 2012: A Red Line train derailed at the Granville station on the north side, causing delays but apparently no injuries. Firefighters brought another train up next to the derailed train, so that passengers could transfer across to the new train.

Oct. 1, 2012: CTA officials originally thought that four cars of a Red Line train had derailed in a mishap between the Granville and Loyola stations on the North Side. Later they determined there had been no derailment and the mishap actually occurred because a track switch wasn’t lined up properly. No one was hurt. 

April 29, 2012: About 40 train buffs were on a chartered vintage CTA train when it jumped the tracks in the South Loop. A CTA spokesman said a wheel on the vintage car left the track but described the derailment as minor. Nobody was injured.

April 19, 2011: A Brown Line “split the tracks” when it was crossing over a switch point north of the Belmont Station, when the first three cars of the train followed the correct track, but the fourth car followed the incorrect track. No injuries were reported.

Jan. 14, 2010: Two people had minor injuries after a northbound Red Line train derailed in the subway near the Roosevelt Road station. CTA officials said the train hit a switch, which caused it to go off the tracks. 

Dec. 12, 2009: Fourteen people suffered "very minor injuries" of mostly bumps and bruises when the first car of their northbound six-car Green Line train went off the rails as it rounded a curve near 59th Street and Calumet Avenue. Four CTA employees were suspended without pay after CTA officials said they ignored a "stop" signal on the tracks.  That location had been the site of another derailment the previous year.

There was also a spate of derailments in a three-month period in 2008: four separate incidents, one of which injured 14 (which was at the same location as a later derailment in December of 2009): 

July 19, 2008: CTA officials blamed "human error" for a minor derailment of a Red Line train at the Chinatown stop on the Near South Side. No one was hurt. A spokesperson said a switch was improperly set, causing the derailment. 

June 3, 2008: A train operator apparently missed a red-light signal along the Red Line tracks in the median of the Dan Ryan Expressway near the 95th Street station, causing one car to derail. Fourteen people were on the train, and one suffered minor injuries. 

May 28, 2008: Four people were hurt after a CTA motorman apparently ran a red-light signal near 59th Street, causing two cars of the Green Line train to derail, and injuring 14 out of the 24 passengers on the train. 

April 20, 2008: The second car of a southbound Red Line train derailed as it pulled into the Howard Street station, but no one was injured.

And of course there was the tragic derailment in 1977 in Chicago’s Loop, when a CTA train was rear-ended by another train at the northeast corner of the elevated lines at Wabash and Lake. The rear train’s first four cars fell off the tracks. Eleven people were killed, and more than 180 people were hurt when the cars crashed down on the street below.

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