Derailment throws commuters off track

A CTA Red Line “L” car derailed near the Armitage stop Thursday around 11:30 a.m., affecting Red, Brown and Purple line service for about four hours.

According to the Chicago Fire Department, one car at the end of the southbound train lost contact with the rails. Causing damage to the tracks, the CTA worked to restore service before the evening rush hour.

Rana Sweis, a senior biology major at DePaul, was sitting in her living room when the train derailed.

“I heard a really loud muffled sound from my apartment across the street and I figured it was some sort of accident I had no idea it was the actual CTA,” said Sweis. “I heard a bunch of fire trucks and cop cars and saw them all across the street, blocking off Sheffield at the Dickens intersection.”

Francesca Rivera, a freshman digital cinema major at DePaul, was on the train, next to the car that derailed.

“Before the accident, the train was already pausing a lot and stopping,” said Rivera. “The train was very shaky, more than usual. Then the car just suddenly jumped off the rail and there was a loud screech.”

Rivera said it started to smell a little of smoke, which made some passengers more panicked.

Chelsea Page, a junior public relations and journalism student, was also on the train headed to class in the Loop.

“I wasn’t on the car that derailed, but we were sitting for about 15 minutes,” said Page. “They didn’t say much, except that the train had derailed.”

Page said she received an email from her journalism professor that only two students were present in her 11:50 a.m. class. The professor waited until 12:30 to see if more students would arrive before cancelling class, Page said.

“Some people on the train looked really scared,” said Page. “But a lot of people just seemed really annoyed. Some were blaming it on the CTA and the construction.”

Sweis said the doors to the train were “completely pried open” and that people were “hanging out” of them to see what was going on.

Passengers, including Rivera and Page, were instructed to board a Howard Red Line train after crossing on wooden planks to a train that took passengers back to Fullerton.

Rivera said they were told that shuttle buses would be available, but upon arrival at Fullerton, passengers were directed to regular bus routes. Rivera took the #8 Halsted bus downtown.

The Chicago Fire Department reported no injuries, although one passenger was transported to the hospital.

All cars remained “upright and stable” while 64 passengers were removed to the platform and 100 passengers moved to another train, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Public Safety Director Bob Wachowski said faculty was notified that students may be late for class and that no classes were being cancelled because of the incident.

Red Line service was suspended between Belmont and Grand, and Brown Line service between Belmont and the Loop before being restored around 3:15 p.m., according to the CTA.