Updated 06/18/14 – 6:05 a.m.
(CBS) — Normal service has been restored on the Loop ‘L’ tracks, after a minor derailment Tuesday evening near the LaSalle/Van Buren stop caused major problems for the CTA’s Orange, Pink, Brown, Green and Purple Lines.
CTA spokesman Brian Steele said that one set of wheels aboard an inbound Orange Line train derailed around 6:30 p.m. It then proceeded to cut the rail fasteners and wood atop the inner track of the Loop ‘L’ structure, sending wood and steel raining to the pavement from State to LaSalle along Van Buren.
Steele said service was shut down on the Loop ‘L’ as the extent of the damage was determined. Service resumed at about 7:45 p.m., although Orange Line trains were rerouted in what would normally be the “wrong” direction around the Loop. Pink Line trains from 54/Cermak were turned back at Ashland and did not even venture downtown.
Normal service on both the inner and outer tracks was restored by about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, after crews repaired the damaged tracks.
Eyewitnesses said it “rained metal and steel” as the broken steel fasteners and chunks of wood fell from the ‘L’ structure above.
Kelly Doherty told WBBM she was walking under the tracks on Van Buren when she heard “extra screeching” and began to see the debris fall.
“Pieces of wood and metal just sort of rained down from it so it looked like maybe pieces of the track and some of the metal bolts are almost sort of like links holding it together and they just sort of fell,” she said.
“It was raining,” said eyewitness Rory Rice, of Skokie. He said people stood back and gawked as the metal fell.
Charles Williams was in his car and got caught in the hail of metal.
“The train was coming across and I started hearing things then a couple then a couple of things dropped onto the car, the train kept coming and everything was falling from the tracks,” he said.
Williams stayed in his car while the stuff fell.
CTA immediately halted service, and Steele said that inspectors were dispatched within minutes, followed quickly be repair crews.
The cause of the derailment was under investigation. CTA officials said they might have a preliminary explanation by the end of the day on Wednesday.