Metra: Union Station collision may upset PM rush

June 3, 2011 (CHICAGO)

The Chicago Fire Department said most of the injuries were minor, however one person is listed in serious condition. The extent of his or her injuries is not known, but they are not considered life-threatening. Officials said a pregnant woman was also hurt.

Officials say two trains -- Amtrak train No. 391 to Carbondale and Metra Burlington Northern train No. 1242 -- were involved in a slow-speed collision around 8:15 a.m. One car had structural damage.

ABC7's planning editor Len Prazak was on the Metra train. He said, "There was a loud bang and we pushed forward, and a second or two later, there was a second loud bang... a conductor came rushing through asking if everybody was OK. Everybody in our car was OK. Then I heard him on his radio the call for ambulance and doctors."

The Amtrak train was empty, according to officials, and leaving Union Station as the Metra train, carrying between 1,000 and 1,500 passengers, arrived. The trains struck, but an exact cause has not been released. Metra officials said there may have been a switching error.

"It just happened suddenly. I mean I was half asleep anyway. I woke up. I don't think anyone, everyone seemed fine," said Ehsan Sheikh, passenger.

"We felt like a bump and then we heard, an impact like, and we kept going to the side. It seemed like it came into the car," said Teleshia McClendon, passenger.

"One big crash and then another big crash," said Barbara Panos. "I was holding onto the seat well, so you just got sort of jerked around. I didn't fall or anything."

Passengers were evacuated onto Taylor Street and 10 buses were sent to pick them up and take them on to Union Station.

The incident briefly disrupted Union Station during the morning commute. Trains were able to move in and out of the hub again around 10 a.m. However, Metra is urging passengers to check for delays and platform information during the afternoon commute.

Amtrak said several of its trains were impacted:

    TRAINS COMING TO CHICAGO THAT ARE DELAYED
  • #49 LAKE SHORE LIMITED FROM NEW YORK
  • #851 HOOSIER STATE FROM INDIANAPOLIS
  • #371 PERE MARQUETTE FROM GRAND RAPIDS

    TO CHICAGO CANCELLED
  • #302 LINCOLN SERVICE

    TRAINS LEAVING CHICAGO CANCELLED
  • #321 TEXAS EAGLE
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