Wednesday, July 12, 2006This was the big news story around town (and made news around the country as well) - last night, at around 5:00pm, the end car of a CTA Blue Line train derailed and caught fire shortly after leaving the Clark and Lake underground station, forcing hundreds of passengers to evacuate through hundreds of feet of dark, smoke-filled subway tunnel. Over 150 riders were taken to area hospitals, most suffering from smoke inhalation.
Although I was passing through the south Loop on a bus at about 5:40pm (and got on the CTA Red Line shortly thereafter) I actually didn't hear about this incident until the 10:00 ABC local newscast.
I did notice an unusual number of ambulances - four, I think - making their way through traffic. Otherwise the ride was uneventful. But, by a strange coincidence, both the bus I was riding on and the Red Line "L" had minor mechanical problems that triggered operator alarms - which was strange in itself. Maybe all the CTA vehicles are revolting?* Today's Red Eye cover included this image of one of the Blue Line derailment evacuees:
In a bizarre coincidence, July 10th's Red Eye cover story was a CTA Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide. Talk about timing.
* (Well, some of them certainly are at times.)
MORE: CTA Tattler on Lessons Learned From the Blue Line Fire
Daley Praises Response (Chicago Tribune)