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O’Hare CTA Crash Brings NTSB Back To Chicago

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By Dave Savini

(CBS) – Monday’s CTA train crash at O’Hare International Airport is the second time in two years the National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the Chicago rail agency.

2 Investigator Dave Savini reports.

NTSB investigators combed Monday’s scene after just finishing a probe into another CTA train crash from fall 2013.

When a runaway Blue Line train collided with a standing train at the Harlem stop in Forest Park, 33 people were sent to the hospital. The NTSB investigated and issued urgent safety recommendations to the CTA for its handling of unoccupied cars.

Following that mishap, two electrical workers were fired, and a switchman and supervisor were suspended.

There have been other problems — even on the same Blue Line near O’Hare. Three months ago, in January, a fire there led to the evacuation of 150 people.

Other incidents: In May 2013, a southbound Red Line train derailed near Armitage; two people were injured. The rear wheels reportedly left the tracks.

In 2012, half of an eight-car Red Line train derailed between Granville and Loyola. A track switch was allegedly misaligned.

Also in 2012, the Orange Line was the scene of a derailment near the CTA yard at Midway Airport. No passengers were aboard at the time, but two CTA employees were injured.

The NTSB typically investigates an “accident of interest.”

Since 1976, the NTSB has investigated eight CTA crashes; Monday’s was the ninth.

One of the worst cases was in 1977. Four L cars fell from the tracks along Lake Street. Eleven people were killed.

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