As the nation’s second-largest public transportation system, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) provides about 1.6 million rides each day, serving Chicago and 35 suburbs in the metro area. One of the most important arteries in the CTA system is its Blue line, which serves O’Hare International Airport and also brings commuters to and from the downtown area each day. On a normal day, riders can enjoy their coffee and paper, and leave the driving to CTA conductors.

No one behind the wheel

Forty Monday morning Blue Line commuters had a rude awakening recently when an out-of-service train appeared seemingly out of nowhere, hurtling into the back of an eight-car downtown-bound rush-hour train. The train crash could not have come at a more inopportune time for the Windy City, with the mayor set to address influential transportation experts gathered for a national convention of the American Public Transportation Association. While investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were presented with various versions of the unfortunate events, one fact remained consistent. The out-of-service train had no one in the front car helming it.

Panic ensues

The phantom train reached speeds of 20 miles an hour prior to impact, slamming into the back of the train ahead and creating what passengers described as an explosion-like impact. While all injuries sustained were non-life threatening, those in the area describe a crush for the exits and feverish panic in the immediate aftermath. According to local news reports, a 49-year-old rider tearfully lamented that she would never ride the train again after experiencing passengers trampling each other as they sought safety.

Mechanical malfunction?

After CTA cameras failed to identify any persons boarding the unmanned train, officials pronounced that criminal activity and mischief were not an issue. As such, investigators have offered a catchall prognosis of mechanical malfunction. In light of the fact that the train can move without a human being with two keys, one key to open the door and one to start the train, such explanations leave much to be desired. 

When train-related accidents result in injuries and trauma, it’s time to speak with a railroad disaster attorney who can assess damages and initiate any necessary claims.