CTA service restored, stuck train removed

April 19, 2011 2:19:08 PM PDT
A northbound Brown Line train got stuck at a switching station just north of the Belmont stop on the CTA's elevated tracks during the Tuesday morning commute.

Seven passengers who were aboard the train were escorted along the catwalk back to the Belmont station they'd just left by emergency crews. Two CTA workers were on the train. No one was injured.

The Kimball-bound train got stuck around 945 W. Belmont near a switching station when the front of the train went left on Brown Line tracks and the back portion stayed on the Red Line tracks.

"Some of the train went on to the correct tracks, but others went forward," said Noelle Gaffney, CTA spokesperson. All cars remained upright.

Originally reported as a derailment, the CTA calls it a "split switch" when a train splits -- some cars headed one way, some the other -- on tracks. The wheels never actually left the tracks, according to the CTA, but came to a stop across all of them -- blocking both Red and Brown Line trains.

The CTA suspended service on the Brown, Red and Purple lines between the Fullerton and Southport stations on the Brown Line and Fullerton and Addison stations on the Red Line for a little over two hours. Shuttle buses provided connecting service through the affected area, but led to longer commutes.

"It's all discombobulated. It should have taken 15 minutes to get home and it took more than an hour," Tyrone Dean, delayed passenger.

"I tried to make it to class on time. I tried taking the train after the 151 wouldn't come, and when it did it passed us and I couldn't get on. So now I'm stuck again," Laura Refsland, delayed passenger. "There are other ways to get around. I'm glad everyone is safe."

Because the wheels never came off track, crews were able to pull the disabled train back onto one set of tracks and remove it from the area. They then went over the rails to make sure they were not damaged.

"Our standard procedure is we look at the mechanicals of the train, we look at the track, we look at the signal system. There's a tower at this location so we talk to the tower people and see what was going on there, we talk to the operator," Noelle Gaffney, CTA spokeswoman, said.

The CTA restored service around 11:10 a.m.