Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by doepack
That can be true sometimes...

Daily Herald

Metra upset by long accident investigations
By Joseph Ryan
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2006

Metra officials railed against some law enforcement departments Friday for what they see as unnecessarily long delays on routes blocked by train
accident investigations.

The outcry was prompted by a freight train accident in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon that killed a pedestrian on the Union Pacific line, which also carries Metra's trains to Geneva through DuPage County.

The accident stopped Metra trains on those tracks from 2:40p.m. to about 4:20 p.m., causing back-ups affecting thousands of commuters into the evening rush hour, Metra officials said.

"There is no way that this can continue if we want to have mass transit," Metra Chairman Jeffrey Ladd said.

Metra board member Carole Doris, a DuPage County appointee, said the backups also can cause dangerous situations at platforms packed with angry commuters.

"It is more than people's schedules. It is a serious safety issue," she said. "It is a homeland security issue in my opinion."

Chicago police officer John Mirabelli said the investigators at the scene Tuesday took the time they needed to do their job.

"We take these incidences very seriously, and we conduct a thorough investigation," he said. "If there is a loss of life, that takes precedent."

The tough talk wasn't directed only at Chicago. Metra officials said they have also had potentially unreasonable delays brought on by investigations of suburban accidents. They declined to name specific suburbs.

Metra Director Philip Pagano said the transit agency's staff will set up a roaming presentation for police stations and coroner's offices to let them
know of the importance of keeping the trains running.

Metra board member Arlene Mulder, Arlington Heights mayor, said some suburban departments are more conscious of Metra's concerns about delays in investigations than others.

"This is a matter of communication," she said.

Pagano and other officials noted that a Mount Prospect train accident on Tuesday that injured a woman in a car did not result in an unusually long delay for trains.

Metra officials did not discuss in detail delays beyond those on Tuesday.

  by F40CFan
This is very true. We clipped a genius at Grand Ave in Elmwood Park a few years ago. Just took off the door, no one was injured. The conductor (not Mr. Sattelite) got on the P.A. and told us we were being delayed (it turned out to be 45 minutes) because Sgt. So-and-so wanted to personally investigate the scene. Near the end of the 45 minutes, the conductor got on again and told us that this was not the railroad's delay, but Elmwood Park's, especially Sgt. So-and-so. I'd hate to see what would happen if someone was killed.

He probably wanted to make sure that the train didn't go on a rampage seeking innocent victims and smashing their cars.

  by doepack
Last August, I remember being on the 1240 UP-W train from downtown heading home when we were stopped in Villa Park, due to a bank robber at large. No rail traffic was allowed through the area for over two hours, even though, as it turns out, the police had the suspect cornered in a house several miles away from the station within an hour after the train was stopped. Yet, as I recall, nothing started moving through the area until about 3pm. The delay wound up being over twice as long as it should have been, thanks in large part to total lack of communication between the police and the railroad. Finally got home around 4pm. Aggravating, to say the least, because it was totally avoidable...