CTA Brown Line service resuming in and near Loop after power loss leaves passengers stuck for hours

Brown Line and Purple Line Express service has been temporarily suspended in some areas

ByRavi Baichwal and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 3:54AM
Power loss halts Brown Line CTA service in, near Loop for hours
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CTA Brown Line trains were halted for hours in and near the Loop due to power loss near the Merchandise Mart, stranding passengers over the Chicago River.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- CTA Brown Line passengers at the start of the evening rush found themselves stuck for hours as a power loss halted train service in and near the Loop on both the Brown and Purple lines.

Just before 5 p.m., the CTA said a loss of power near the Merchandise Mart brought a train to a halt, forcing Chicago firefighters to get hundreds of riders down from cars that had just turned north toward the Mammoth Building.

It was a little too fast, according to one commuter.

"I think we hit the corner too quickly, because I have never been on a train that leaned that much it was almost as if you were in a car and you take a corner really hard," said Ethan Sauer, a CTA train passenger.

After being jostled around, Sauer said he looked out from his spot near the back of the train and saw sparks ahead.

"As soon as it happened, I knew we were kind of like, 'we are going to be here for a little bit,'" Sauer said.

After a wait of nearly two hours, people in the back were able to get down. But, it wasn't how they expected.

"It was a little scary. I am a little afraid of heights," said Alondra Cuellar, another passenger. "And, when they told us to get off, the little walkway was too small, so it was a little scary looking down."

Cuellar snapped some photos before being evacuated from the train. She joined hundreds of other passengers who had to traverse a catwalk over the Chicago River to get to safety, at some points, without the help of a guard rail.

"The latter part was fine, but I would say, just walking the tracks, there are more gaps than I expected," Sauer said. "You could see straight down through."

Evacuations wrapped up just after 7 p.m.

CTA said the power loss to the third rail near Lake and Wells impacted trains entering and exiting the Loop.

Normal service began resuming on the Brown Line just before 10:15 p.m., the CTA said.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.