CTA Yellow Line trains back in service for first time since November crash

Friday, January 5, 2024
SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- CTA Yellow Line trains are on the roll again Friday for the first time since a November collision near the Howard Station.

It's been shut down since November 16, when a Yellow Line train with dozens of passengers on board collided with a snow removal machine, leaving nearly 40 people injured.

An NTSB investigation into the incident is still on-going and a preliminary report was released last month, but the cause of the crash is still unknown.

CTA gives update on return of Yellow Line

The CTA said it has taken extensive measures and conducted testing to safely reopen the Yellow Line Friday by reducing train speeds from 55 to 35 miles per hour, power washing and removing debris on the train rails plus improving communication.

Despite the change, some CTA riders like Aurell Watkins are apprehensive.

"I'm a bit nervous just for the simple fact of what happened the incident," Watkins said. "I don't want it to happen again, especially with having kids."

The CTA said it informed the NTSB of the new guidance being taken to reopen the Yellow Line Friday.

"We extend our gratitude to our riders impacted by this incident and for their patience," CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said in a statement. "My No. 1 priority for our customers and employees is safety. I wanted to make sure we looked at every aspect of this incident, as thoroughly as we could, to ensure the highest levels of safety when we reopened. I will never compromise safety for expediency."

SEE MORE: NTSB report on CTA Yellow Line train crash that injured 16 says signal equipment not updated

For Yellow Line riders, their commute is back on track.

"The bus was much much slower than this, so I'm so happy its back," CTA rider Darrell Ballard said.

"I'm very excited," CTA rider Susan Khon said. "It's unfortunate of what happened."

The YELLOW LINE also known as the SKOKIE SWIFT runs from the HOWARD street STATION to the DEMPSTER AVENUE STATION in the heart of north suburban SKOKIE's downtown.

The CTA Yellow Line is also known as the "Skokie Swift." It runs from the Howard Street station to the Dempster Avenue station in the heart of north suburban Skokie's downtown.

"I provides more than 1,000 rides to our residents, visitors and our commuters each day," Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen said.

While some riders said they're glad the frustration and inconvenience of the ordeal is over, others, like Hamza Hadzic, remain more worried about crime on the CTA than they are concerned about another accident happening.

"I've been seeing other customers on the train, people getting yelled at, people slapping each other, but that's just the regular commute here in Chicago and Skokie," Hadzic said.

The NTSB report into the November collision is expected to be released later this year.

The train, carrying 30 passengers and an operator, collided with a snow removal machine near the Howard Station on Nov. 16.

Sixteen people were hospitalized, three with critical injuries.

The Clifford Law Office is representing six people who were injured in the crash. They released a statement saying, "Clifford Law Offices is conducting its own investigation to figure out exactly what happened regarding the Yellow Line crash in November. The NTSB concluded that the conductor was aware of equipment on the tracks as well as a design flaw, but there is still much to be learned about exactly what went wrong in this avoidable incident. The public remains in the dark, and the CTA needs to be more transparent so the passengers can have more confidence riding on the Yellow Line," said Joseph T. Murphy, partner at the firm handling the matter."

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