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Train Derails At O'Hare, Injuring Dozens And Delaying Chicago Travelers

A derailed Chicago Transit Authority train car rests on an escalator at the O'Hare Airport station early Monday, in Chicago.
Andrew Nelles
A derailed Chicago Transit Authority train car rests on an escalator at the O'Hare Airport station early Monday, in Chicago.
This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET.

More than 30 people were reportedly injured after a train on the Blue Line in Chicago derailed at O'Hare International Airport early Monday morning, jumping its track and careening into a platform.

Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said in a briefing with reporters that none of the injuries were considered life-threatening, but The Chicago Tribune quotes fire officials as saying that "six people are listed in fair-to-serious condition and 26 in good-to-fair condition."

The Blue Line train's operator "was walking and talking as we were investigating," Santiago said.

The Tribune reports:

"The eight-car train jumped a bumper at the end of the line and ended up on an escalator around 2:50 a.m. [local time], according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

"The train was wedged up to almost the top of the staircase commuters use when entering O'Hare from the Blue Line terminal there.

"CTA spokesman Brian Steele told reporters that the train appeared to [be] going faster than normal when entering the station. 'We will be looking at everything — equipment, signals, the human factor,' Steele said."

Patrick Smith from member station WBEZ in Chicago says the airport is the last stop on the line and one of the busiest overnight destinations. However, Steele said that while it wasn't clear how many people were aboard when the crash occurred, it was "typically among our lowest ridership time."

Because of the accident, the Chicago Transit Authority is running buses to and from O'Hare, which was expected to cause major delays for the morning rush hour, WBEZ says.

Update at 5:31 p.m. ET. Conductor May Have Dozed Off:

The Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Tribune are reporting that Robert Kelly, president of union representing transit workers, said there were indications that the conductor "might have dozed off."

"I can confirm that she was extremely tired," Kelly said.

The conductor's name has not been released.

Update at 3:20 p.m. ET. 'The Train Is Not Going Go Go Anywhere;' Delays To Continue Indefinitely:

While there had been hope that crews might be able to restore train service to the station today, the Tribune now quotes National Transportation Safety Board investigator Tim DePaepe saying that "the train is not going to go anywhere for the foreseeable future. ... It's not going anywhere today. We need to examine the train and the position it's in prior to its movement."

According to the Tribune, buses will continue to shuttle airport-bound travelers from the Rosemont station, "adding 5 to 10 minutes to the typical airport trip, officials said."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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