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: JamesT4, metraRI

  by eolesen
I'm not sure how one accident renders a grade crossing dangerous and in need of closing.

This was a matter of a dumb decision by the truck driver to proceed into a situation where he couldn't safely clear the tracks.

Maybe it's time to require all long vehicles to follow the rules for busses and hazmats: full stop AND do not proceed without the ability to clear the tracks....

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  by Gilbert B Norman
MACTRAXX wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 10:21 am Will there be any effort to eliminate the Prospect Avenue Crossing in the aftermath of this tragedy?
An underpass depending on the grading necessary looks like a possibility for the site - if CH Village
can be somehow convinced that the crossing is indeed dangerous...MACTRAXX
Mr. Mac, "come on out", or even just take a ride in the Googlemobile along Prospect Ave., and I promise you will walk away with the same conclusion as mine; an underpass is simply not feasible.

How often do I wish when trying to get from one side of town - auto or on foot - to the other, "can't something be done?' Elevate the BNSF through town and I promise you it would not just be the Politburo, (ever heard of "Chicago Elections") they'd actually have a few residents supporting them - for once in their existence.

Yes, I know the Chicago Sub is often called in railfan circles "the Racetrack", but such really escapes me. Yes, passenger trains are authorized 70mph and freight 60, but the only freight approaching that speed are Mr. JBHunt's et al Trailers and Containers. Manifest is often held to 25 ("hey we got a crew with more than four hours left on the clock, why burn up that gas getting to Galesburg?". That comes from "a Reading" of the Gospel According to Saint Elwood).
GBN - Thanks again for the reply...You read my mind - I was looking at the area on Google Maps this morning...
This would be a tough grade crossing to attempt for elimination taking note to CH's flat topography...

I have visited Clarendon Hills Station in the past - I had relatives that once lived south of Westmont Station
one stop west (Darien) and am familiar with the area and the three-track BNSF "Racetrack" to Aurora...

I watched a video interviewing the family of the accident victim - and their attorney mentioned that they
are prepared to wait for the NTSB investigation instead of jumping to conclusions about how this happened
which impressed me agreeing that the NTSB is the best at what they do after this tragedy...

EO - I agree that judging a grade crossing to be truly dangerous is a tough call...
Here on Long Island the LIRR is currently working on the Main Line Third Track Project (at LIRR Forum)
Going along with the new third track is eliminating all of the grade crossings on the 10.1 mile route -
some of which have had major grade crossing accidents resulting in fatalities...

I agree of the thought about long vehicles stopping at grade crossings being made mandatory along
with regulations about being able to clear the tracks - common sense here would help...MACTRAXX
  by justalurker66
MACTRAXX wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 8:44 amThe CBS2 video was interesting to me - and emphasized more the truck destroyed in the accident - in which thankfully no one was hurt - than the train specifically cab car #8473 where the fatality and injuries were...
They were being careful not to show the fatality. The burned out truck was safe to show.
  by Gilbert B Norman
At the scene--

Prospect Ave X-ing is now open, and there is no police presence.

There is still yellow tape around the area where truck remains were located. Only wreckage remaining is the X'ing signal that got "taken out".

Of interest is that the bumps in the resurfacing have been filled in. I will wonder if this had been done when the project was started would have this whole incident been avoided.

But who am I to say; I only live here as I have for the past forty three years.

Oh. And I just paid my Real Estate Taxes yesterday.
  by Gilbert B Norman
I just learned an interesting development. Apparently, the victim's Son in Law (her daughter's husband) is a personal injury attorney.

I asked my source "you think he knows what the NTSB is? "Of course".

Just as well I paid my Taxes in full yesterday. The Village is going to need them.
  by justalurker66
The vehicle in question is reported as having stalled on the tracks before the three occupants saw the oncoming train and ran for safety while passengers waiting for the train's arrival cleared the platform in anticipation of the impact and concern about where the wreckage would be strewn. Do you believe the vehicle stalled because the road was bumpy?

Congratulations on paying your taxes. Hopefully they did not jump up too high. In my area properties were reassessed before the bills were sent out. The current housing bubble inflated the value of existing homes and the taxes were raised. The value of my home only went up 30% but some people reported 50% or 100% increases in value and tax liability depending on how long it had been since the last assessment. (Off topic as pertaining to the crossing incident but so is paying one's taxes.)
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Lurker, all I know from first hand passing over it, and looking at when walking into town is that it was some 2" high and as sharp as a curb.

I took it at "not more than 5mph".

Since the incident, it has been smoothed over; why it wasn't prior to the incident is surely a question the Board will be addressing.
  by justalurker66
https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Pag ... MH009.aspx

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... ndon+hills

Per the posted video of the incident and the NTSB briefing, the train hit the cab of the truck, spun it around to where the back of the truck hit the right hand side (direction of travel) of the train with enough force to eject the passenger out of a window on the left hand side of the train. At the time of the NTSB briefing the NTSB did not know where the passenger was seated prior to the accident.
  by west point
Intersection beyond appears to make the crossing dangerous. Appears to be a long box truck. Very interesting that most damage is about 40 -50 feet behind cab. The video did not show very little damage to front of cab car??
  by justalurker66
Traffic is not required to stop after crossing the tracks in either direction. South of the tracks there is an odd intersection where southbound traffic can turn left at an angle but that traffic has the right of way (all other approaches to the intersection stop). On the north side of the tracks there is a normal 90 degree intersection that is a three way stop - eastbound, westbound and southbound traffic stop, northbound traffic that just crossed the tracks is not required to stop. That being said, three way stops at four way intersections can be confusing and the construction in the area is disrupting the normal flow of traffic.

The truck was northbound. It stopped behind a pickup truck that had stopped on the tracks with the cab of the truck on the track with the arriving train. The pickup truck was clear of the tracks long before the train arrived. When the gates activated one came down on the top of the truck. This was NOT the typical "stopped at a stop light with the rear of the truck extending over the rail" type of incident. The cab of the truck was the only portion on the track before impact.

Upon impact the truck was pushed eastward and spun around causing the rear end of the truck to strike the side of the train where the damage was seen. The passenger was ejected through a window on the north side of the train where she landed on the tracks. Media was careful not to show that part of the scene, although in some coverage one can see the tent set up on the rails to shield view of her body during the investigation and recovery. The crossing gate on the south side of the tracks was taken out by the impact of the truck being pushed by the train, however the overhead signal remained standing.

The NTSB "B Roll" video shows the damage to the front and side of the train in detail and also shows investigators inside the train car looking down from the upper level at the interior damage. If you have not seen that damage it is worth a look. There is no crush zone on the front of the cab cars. The amount of damage seen to the front of the train is as I would expect for striking the cab of a large truck.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Both Messrs. Lurker and West Point in their respective immediates are on mark. Southbound traffic on Prospect how ROW overall including heading East (Left turn) to Ann Street. Traffic West on Railroad, which ends at the intersection with Prospect and a Stop sign.

Dangerous to me is turning West on Burlington from North on Prospect (Left). The posted speed is theoretically 20mph, but since there can be pedestrian traffic X-ing there (the Wintrust Bank is on the Northwest corner) my safe speed making that "Left" is 10mph. Even though such traffic has Right of Way over both Southbound traffic on Prospect and West on Burlington, how many times has my Right of Way been "violated", or I have been "horned" and "fingered" - even by women.

Traffic signals located at that intersection and with such controlling North on Prospect located South of Ann St. and the tracks, would make this dangerous intersection far safer. But alas, the Politburo does not wish to "disturb the charm of our little Village" - and their wish is thy command. The only signals within Clarendon Hills' Corporate Limits are on 55th Street as well as Chicago Ave - and those are controlled by the State.

All told, with proper signaling, this whole sorry incident resulting in the first revenue passenger fatality on the Chicago Sub since 1947 would have been avoided. The driver of the Box Van (surely given substance tests at the scene) was surely unfamiliar with the area, but I'd presume would know how to respond to a traffic signal.

Once again, just as well for the Village I paid my Real Estate Taxes in full last week. They're going to need them.
  by Gilbert B Norman
justalurker66 wrote: Mon May 16, 2022 2:53 am The passenger was ejected through a window on the north side of the train where she landed on the tracks. Media was careful not to show that part of the scene, although in some coverage one can see the tent set up on the rails to shield view of her body during the investigation and recovery. .
The window noted by Mr. Lurker was visible when I first walked by the scene early Thursday AM, as the evidence tent had been removed by that time.
GBN, JL and Everyone:

As the investigation of this tragic CH accident continues something I was NOT aware of was that the fatality
occurred as a result from a window ejection on the north or center track side of the train...

Was this as a result of the "shock" of the impact when the train struck the truck?
Was the window in question an evacuation window with the removable window gasket?
Does the NTSB know which window failed causing the fatality?

When I saw the damage to the south side of cab car #8473 seeing the missing windows I thought that area
was the place on board the train in question...The car (other than the fatality) held strong under these
extreme circumstances...All of the other injuries to passengers and crew was non-life threatening despite...

The road areas in the vicinity of the Prospect Avenue crossing in CH are going to be under scrutiny -
There may have to be changes to keep vehicles from being stuck on the crossing made...
We all have confidence in the NTSB investigation and findings in the aftermath of this tragic accident...
  by Gilbert B Norman
Horrifying how the 11th is becoming associated with tragic events.

First 9/11; need more be said?

Then 3/11; the 2004 terrorist incident involving several trains near Madrid.

Now this incident; 5/11!!!

Posted without comment.