Dozens of people were injured on November 16, 2023, when a Chicago commuter train collided with a snow plow in the 7500 block of North Paulina Street about 300 yards from the Howard Station.
Seven Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) personnel and 31 civilians, including four children, were aboard the train when the accident occurred. At least 23 people were taken to area hospitals with injuries ranging from fair to serious.
CTA temporarily suspended the Red, Purple, and Yellow lines until authorities could clear the accident scene.
Authorities say the Yellow Line train was “traveling at its normal speed” when it crashed into the “slow-moving” snow plow. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Anyone injured in this or any other Chicago-area train accident should consult a Chicago train accident lawyer as soon as possible. Train accident victims may recover compensation for their accident-related medical bills and other losses.
Chicago’s History of Commuter Train Wrecks
The CTA accident comes just over a year after Chicago marked the 50th anniversary of the deadliest commuter train crash in the city’s history. On Oct. 30, 1972, an Illinois Central train overshot the 27th Street station, reversed, and collided with another Illinois Central train barreling toward it. The train cars telescoped into each other in a mass of twisted metal and debris. The crash injured approximately 350 people and killed 45.
Train accidents aren’t common in the U.S., but they happen more often than people think. Illinois often ranks among the top states for train accidents. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, each year in Illinois, over 175 train accidents cause 40 train-related deaths.
With its heavy reliance on public transit, Chicago sees a higher-than-usual number of train accidents each year. According to the Illinois Commerce Commission, in the previous six years combined, 252 train collisions took place at public, private, and pedestrian crossings across Cook County. This includes train crashes into other trains, trains colliding with other vehicles, and train derailments.
Chicago Relies Heavily on Public Transit
Chicago has a long and rich history when it comes to train transportation, and its significance in this regard is multifaceted. The city was recently highlighted as the “U.S. Railroad Capital ” by Trains Magazine due to its central location within the United States and the many freight and passenger trains coursing through the city.
Chicago became a major transportation hub in the 19th century as railroads expanded westward, connecting the East Coast with the emerging western regions. The convergence of multiple rail lines made it a crucial interchange point for freight and passenger traffic. It became a strategic location as a transportation hub and continues to have a profound impact on its economic development.
Chicago’s iconic Union Station opened in 1925. This historic railway terminal continues to serve as a major transportation hub, hosting Amtrak (intercity rail service), Metra (commuter rail), and various bus services.
The Chicago Metra Rail System also services the metropolitan area with 242 stations and 11 separate rail lines. Metra has become the fourth-busiest commuter rail system in the country, with over 80 million passengers annually.
Chicago is renowned for its elevated rapid transit system, commonly known as the L (short for “elevated”).
The Chicago L is one of the world’s oldest and largest rapid transit systems. It has provided efficient and accessible public transportation within the city and its suburbs. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the second-largest public transit authority in the country, oversees the eight L train lines. The system connects the city through above-ground, street-level, and subway trains and serves 145 rail stations.
Common Causes of Train Accidents in Chicago
Train accidents can result from a combination of human error, technical failures, and external conditions.
Here are some common causes of train accidents.
Human Errors in Train Operation
- Operator Mistakes: Train operators misjudging signals, exceeding speed limits, or making critical errors.
- Communication Breakdowns: Issues arising from miscommunication between train operators, dispatchers, and other personnel involved in train control.
Track Issues and Infrastructure Challenges
- Defective Tracks and Switches: Poorly maintained or faulty tracks leading to derailments or accidents.
- Weather Conditions: Impact of adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or fog on track safety and visibility.
- Mechanical Malfunctions: Failures in the train’s mechanical components, including brakes and coupling systems.
- Signal Failures: Malfunctions in signaling equipment that can lead to misunderstandings between operators and control centers.
A Lawyer Can Help You Get the Compensation You Need
Chicago relies heavily on its train services. But when accidents happen, they can devastate those involved and their families. These traumatic events often result in massive, catastrophic injuries.
If you or a loved one were a passenger, train operator, railroad worker, or hazardous materials employee for a railroad company, and suffered injuries in a train accident, discuss your case during a free consultation with the personal injury attorneys at Midwest Injury Lawyers. You may recover compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, and other damages.
Contact us today to hear how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.