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 orangeline
This morning, just as my train, #1216, was pulling into Congress Park, an alert came over the conductor's radio that #1212 had struck a pedestrian at Cicero Station.

Soon afterwards, a trainwide announcement was made that because of an "incident" at Cicero, we'd be very late in arriving at Union Station. It was an interesting study in the human condition how some passengers on my train reacted. Most stopped talking -- the quiet was deafening. Some buried their heads in their newspapers or books, but it didn't seem like any pages were turned. One guy complained to the conductor that if Metra had known this happened, they should have informed passengers BEFORE they boarded the train so they could make other arrangements to get to their destination. The conductor was business-like in replying to this person saying the incident happened only a few moments before and that we were already moving. The passenger continued complaining and the conductor remained as courteous as he could, but one could see he really wanted to smash this a-hole in the mouth. Maybe he should have!

Eventually we were routed through Cicero freight yard on the track closest to the mainline and there was a large police presence in place. Unfortunately, the medical examiner hadn't yet arrived, and the newly deceased was also very visible -- not a pleasant sight at all! Train 1212 finally stopped maybe 1500 feet east of the body. We passed very slowly and I could see stunned passengers in their seats. As we approached 1212's control car, the conductor and a couple of people dressed in suits were standing outside the car talking. There was also a solitary figure off to the side with his head bowed. I assume this was the train's engineer.

I feel bad for the pedestrian, but I feel even worse for the engineer. I'm sure he did what he could to prevent this from happening, but the ultimate responsibility was with the pedestrian.

I have one more trip to take on Metra this afternoon. I wonder how I'll feel as we pass the spot of this morning's incident?

  by MetraBNSF
Usually, I ride train #1212 in the morning. I ran late, so I was on train #1220, which is the fourth train to pass the accident scene. #1220 arrived CUS about 40 minutes late.

As the train pulled into Naperville, I heard the same alert on the conductor's radio and an announcement was made on the train. I didn't notice if there were people on the platform at Naperville that chose not to board, but the train, at least the car I was in was full. Train #1212 has 8 cars and hauls about 1,000 passengers. Train #1220 has 9 cars and hauls about 1,200 passengers. Our train also went into a deafening silence and one lady near me started crying.

We were also routed through the Cicero yard on the track closest to the main. The same reaction on your train, orangeline, also existed on my train, along with looks of horror on people's faces.

This is the fifth incident along the Chicago sub that I know of this year that has involved BNSF and Metra. Two incidents have taken place in Cicero (three since last December if you count the Amtrak incident). This is very unfortunate and I feel bad for everybody that was involved.

Images and video from ABC's Chopper 7 of train #1212 can be seen here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sectio ... d=3441450#
Last edited by MetraBNSF on Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by doepack
Wow. But at the risk of sounding crass, I'm sure that everyone else that saw the body this morning won't give it a second thought on their ride home today. Can't blame them really, it's not a very pleasant thing to think about, to say the least. Hang your head for a minute, say a prayer for the engineer and the victim, hope that those who saw death up close and personal today are reminded of the consequences of ignoring rail safety devices, then move on. That's all anyone can do.
Last edited by doepack on Wed Sep 14, 2005 1:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by keelai
I take #1226 in the morning, and our train was delayed for an hour.

The reaction of the passengers was surprisingly casual, and one of the conductors announced that "the train may be moving in about a half an hour, but I don't want to promise you a time -- because I don't want to be the bad guy."

By the time we passed the body, it was already covered with a white sheet, and there were a few police officers around it. However, the only response I heard was from the people in front me, because I was wearing headphones. One woman gasped, and another said, "Just don't look. Don't look." They kept up their casual conversation immediately afterwards.

What did bring some amusement, however grim it may have been, was when the electronic voice announced "Due to delays, your train will be approximately -30- minutes late." (not exact quote) The humor in this is that it was announced twice -- once after 35 minutes, and again at 55.

When we got into Chicago, we were urged to exit the train quickly by a conductor ("Psh, yeah, don't worry." said some passengers). Also upon arrival, the conductor announced to those waiting on the platform, "This is NOT the 8:55, please exit the platform."

A sad and interesting morning, to say the least. Here's the Chicago tribune article on it.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... i-news-hed

"Following trains bypassed the scene on other tracks and were as much as 30 to 45 minutes behind schedule, Miller said."

#1226 was supposed to arrive at Union at 7:33. We got there somewhere around 8:35. If some trains arrived only 30 minutes late, the commuters were fortunate.