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National Transportation Safety Board Issues Report On Blue Line Crash

By Lisa White in News on Oct 9, 2013 9:30PM

The National Transportation Safety Board finally issued a report last week regarding the September collision at the Harlem stop along the Blue Line's Forest Park branch. The report includes the “urgent” recommendations from the NTSB to the CTA, and includes a request that CTA respond to the report within 30 days with details of the actions they have taken to address the problems and suggestions in the report.

If you do not recall, the incident involved an unmanned CTA train car traveling on a track in the wrong direction and eventually crashing into a standing train at 20 miles per hour, leaving people injured and massive traffic delays for days across the Blue Line.

The NTSB report, which you can see in full along with more highlights from the report at the Forest Park Review, detailed why the train, despite moving through five mechanical train stop mechanisms, still continued on the tracks.

The NTSB suggested CTA use extra safety mechanisms such as wheel chocks to prevent further accidents. You know, the wedge that you sometimes see in front of a car, bus or train wheel to stop a vehicle from rolling forward. Seems like the logical thing to do when leaving a massive train running while sitting empty. The NTSB also believes that if something like this was in use at the terminal, the accident could have been prevented. So a small device could have kept numerous people safe and made everyone's commute much easier? Thanks for looking out for us CTA.

NTSB also reported that “upon inspection one of the cars of the unoccupied train was found to have thermally damaged wiring and water in electrical connection boxes on the car.” You mean a public transit train had faulty wiring and safety hazards present? As a regular rider on the always functional and totally up to standard CTA cars, I am shocked to learn this.

The final suggestion from NTSB basically boiled down to reviewing CTA’s procedures for how they store unoccupied cars and making sure the maintenance on brake systems are up to code, and to immediately start using extra measures to stop unintended rail car movement. Or in the words of mothers around the world, clean up your shit and always have a backup plan. Someone at CTA missed out on this valuable and vital lesson.