CTA Yellow Line service remains suspended after train crash injures 38 at Howard Station

CTA shuttle buses running between Howard, Dempster

ByDiane Pathieu, Eric Horng, and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Saturday, November 18, 2023
NTSB launches CTA crash investigation
An NTSB team will be on-site for 5 days to start the 12-18-month-long invesitgation into the CTA Yellow Line crash that njured 38.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Our coverage of this story has moved here.

CTA Yellow Line service remains suspended Friday morning, one day after a train crash left dozens hurt.

NTSB investigators gave an update on their investigation Friday afternoon. Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said so far her team has been collecting evidence and documenting the scene with photographs. She said they expect to stay on scene for five days, and the investigation overall could take a year or more, which is standard for this type of incident.

The NTSB did not say when Yellow Line service will resume.

The NTSB, Mayor Brandon Johnson, Gov. JB Pritzker and Rep. Jan Schakowsky all visited the scene of the crash Friday afternoon to see the damage with their own eyes.

The Yellow Line train that slammed into the snow plow machine remains on the tracks as the investigation continues.

RELATED: CTA train crash: Would emergency braking technology have prevented the Yellow Line accident?

"I was on scene today. It is very serious. There were children on board. There were lots of folks," Homendy said.

She said among the many things investigations will examine are track conditions, signals, communications, and of course the train's cameras and event recorders.

"We have not yet reviewed the event recorders or the inward and outward facing cameras. We will do that shortly," said Homendy.

Friday morning commuters were left confused and frustrated, as they figured out their way to work.

With shuttle buses in place Friday morning commuters were having to scramble to get on a bus rather than their usual train.

The Chicago Fire Department holds news conference after 38 people were hurt in a CTA train crash in Rogers Park.

Kenton takes the CTA Yellow Line every day to get to work in Skokie.

He said he would have been on that train Thursday morning when it crashed.

"Usually I do but yesterday I had to handle important business downtown," he said.

It happened at around 10:45 a.m. The Yellow Line train was full of people heading downtown when passengers said they felt a vibration, heard a screech then the crash.

The train slammed into this big snow plow on the tracks. There was a CTA radio alert put out two hours before the crash urging train operators to watch for personnel on the tracks.

The crash injured 38 people. The line was immediately suspended, and remains that way, so commuters will have to use the alternate routes in place.

Less than two hours before the crash, a CTA dispatcher alerted train operators of personnel on the tracks between Howard and Oakton. So far, the CTA has not answered questions about the alert and whether it was a warning about the snow plow equipment or not.

In the meantime, commuters were left scrambling.

"I'm coming from downtown Chicago to go to Northbrook for work and actually I thought about it last night," commuter Natasha Jackson said. "There were no trains so I was stuck for an hour trying to figure out what route to get home, I got off of work probably around 6 o'clock I didn't make it home until 9:30."

"I start 8:30 so before eight, like 10 minutes, you know, I still have time now I have to leave my home at least 6:30 because sometimes CTA you don't know exact what time they come with the shuttle bus," commuter Danny Yousif said.

Fire officials said everyone injured is expected to be OK. Seven of the injured include CTA personnel, the snow machine operator was also hurt.

Two passengers have already filed lawsuits. This while the National Transportation Safety Board steps in to begin figuring out what went wrong.