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CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Transit Authority officials say they'll use torches to cut a commuter train apart as they remove wreckage from an underground station after a derailment.
 
Christopher Bushell is the transit agency's chief infrastructure officer. He says Monday's derailment means the O'Hare International Airport station will remain closed for at least "12 to 24 hours."
 
Bushell says crews are inspecting the station's stairs and escalator, which was received "significant damage" when the train plowed across a platform and scaled the escalator around 3 a.m. More than 30 people were hurt, but all of their injuries are considered non-life threatening.
 
Workers will disassemble the train and remove it on a flatbed.
Bushell says CTA inspectors are reviewing the train's video footage as well as information from the agency's signal systems.
   
 
Published in Local News
BOSTON (AP) - An MBTA Green Line train has derailed in Boston, sending 10 people to hospitals with minor injuries.
 
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority said the outbound train went off the track underground and struck a wall shortly after 12:20 p.m. Monday. The cause of the crash is being investigated. It occurred at the intersection of two branches of the Green Line just west of Kenmore Station, which is near Fenway Park.
 
Boston emergency crews reported at least seven people, including the train's driver, complained of back pain. All passengers walked off the train unassisted. Some of the injured were on a following train that braked to avoid the crash.
 
Service on parts of the affected branches wasn't expected to resume Monday. Shuttle buses were running to accommodate commuters.
Published in National News
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 03:37

Lawyer: NY Engineer had 'daze' before train crash

   YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) — An engineer whose speeding commuter train ran off the rails along a curve, killing four people, experienced a hypnotic-like "daze" and nodded at the controls before suddenly realizing something was wrong and hitting the brakes, a lawyer said.

   Attorney Jeffrey Chartier accompanied engineer William Rockefeller to his interview with National Transportation Safety Board investigators Tuesday and described the account Rockefeller gave. Chartier said the engineer experienced a nod or "a daze," almost like road fatigue or the phenomenon sometimes called highway hypnosis. He couldn't say how long it lasted.

   What Rockefeller remembers is "operating the train, coming to a section where the track was still clear — then, all of a sudden, feeling something was wrong and hitting the brakes," Chartier said. "... He felt something was not right, and he hit the brakes."

   He called Rockefeller "a guy with a stellar record who, I believe, did nothing wrong."

   "You've got a good guy and an accident," he said. "... A terrible accident is what it is."

   Rockefeller "basically nodded," said Anthony Bottalico, leader of the rail employees union, relating what he said the engineer told him.

   "He had the equivalent of what we all have when we drive a car," Bottalico said. "That is, you sometimes have a momentary nod or whatever that might be."

   NTSB member Earl Weener said it was too soon to say whether the accident was caused by human error. But he said investigators have found no problems with the train's brakes or rail signals.

   Alcohol tests on the train's crew members were negative, and investigators were awaiting the results of drug tests, the NTSB said.

   Federal investigators wouldn't comment on Rockefeller's level of alertness around the time of the Sunday morning wreck in the Bronx. They said late Tuesday they had removed Bottalico's union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation over a breach of confidentiality after he publicly discussed information related to it.

   Two law enforcement officials said the engineer told police at the scene that his mind was wandering before he realized the train was in trouble and by then it was too late to do anything about it. One of the officials said Rockefeller described himself as being "in a daze" before the wreck.

   The officials, who were briefed on the engineer's comments, weren't authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

   Questions about Rockefeller's role mounted rapidly after investigators disclosed on Monday that the Metro-North Railroad commuter train jumped the tracks after going into a curve at 82 mph, or nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.

   Rockefeller, 46, has worked for the railroad for 15 years and has been an engineer for 10, Weener said. He lives in Germantown, 40 miles south of Albany.

   On the day of the crash, Rockefeller was on the second day of a five-day work week, reporting at 5:04 a.m. after a typical nine-hour shift the day before, Weener said.

   "There's every indication that he would have had time to get full restorative sleep," he said.

   Weener didn't address specifically what the engineer was doing in the hours before his shift started but said part of the investigation will be creating a 72-hour timeline of his activities.

   Chartier said Rockefeller had gotten "a proper amount of sleep," having gone to bed at 8:30 the previous night to wake up at 3:30 a.m. for his shift. He said Rockefeller, before going to bed, had been spending time at home.

   Rockefeller had begun running that route on Nov. 17, two weeks before the wreck. Bottalico said Rockefeller was familiar with the route and qualified to run it.

   He said Rockefeller had switched just weeks earlier from the night shift to the day shift, "so he did have a change in his hours and his circadian rhythms with regard to sleep."

   The New York Police Department is conducting its own investigation, with help from the Bronx district attorney's office, in the event the derailment becomes a criminal case.

   Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday the engineer could be faulted for the train's speed if nothing else.

   "Certainly, we want to make sure that that operator is disciplined in an appropriate way," he said. "There's such a gross deviation from the norm."

   A former supervisor, Michael McLendon, who retired from the railroad about a year ago, called Rockefeller "a stellar employee."

   McLendon said he was stunned when he heard about the crash, shortly after opening his mail to find a Christmas card from Rockefeller and his wife.

   "I said, 'Well, I can't imagine Billy making a mistake,'" McLendon said. "Not intentionally, by any stretch of the imagination."

   University of Dayton professor Steven Harrod, who studies transportation, said trains typically don't have a speed or cruise control but a power control, and once it's set a train can pick up speed on its own because of the terrain.

   "Thus, if the engineer loses attention, the train can gain speed without intervention," Harrod said.

   In case of an engineer becoming incapacitated, the train's front car was equipped with a dead man's pedal, which must be depressed or the train will automatically slow down.

   Trains also can have alarms, sometimes called alerters, which sound if the operators' controls haven't been moved within a certain timeframe. If an engineer doesn't respond, often by pressing a button, brakes automatically operate. But the train that derailed didn't have such a system, a Metro-North spokeswoman said.

   Congress has ordered commuter and freight railroads to install technology called positive train control, which uses electronics to monitor trains' positions and speed and stop derailments and other problems, by the end of 2015.

   Crews are rebuilding the damaged track where Rockefeller's train crashed. Officials expect 98 percent of service to be restored to the affected line Wednesday, Cuomo said.

Published in National News
Monday, 02 December 2013 05:51

Probe seeks cause of fatal NYC train crash

   NEW YORK (AP) — Metro-North officials say the locomotive of the commuter train that derailed in New York City, killing four people, has been righted.

   Spokesman Aaron Donovan says cranes re-railed the engine at 4:20 a.m. Monday.

   Two cranes are in place to lift the rest of the derailed cars pending approval from the National Transportation and Safety Board.

   Donovan says about 150 people were on board when the train derailed Sunday morning while rounding a riverside curve in the Bronx. More than 60 were injured.

   Donovan says all passengers have been accounted for.

   The accident occurred on the Hudson line, which carries 26,000 weekday riders. Federal authorities are embarking on an exhaustive investigation into what caused the derailment.

Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) — The Fire Department of New York says there are "multiple injuries" in a Metro-North passenger train derailment, but the extent of the injuries is unclear.

The FDNY says the train derailment in the Bronx was reported at 7:20 a.m. Sunday near the Spuyten Duyvil station. The fire department says 130 firefighters are on the scene.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says four or five cars on the seven-car train derailed about 100 yards north of the station on a curved section of the track. But the MTA says none of the cars entered the Hudson or Harlem rivers, which are adjacent.

The agency says the crash was reported by the engineer and it wasn't clear if any crew members are injured.

Published in National News
Monday, 21 October 2013 15:04

Trail derails in Bond County, IL

Clean up continues after a train derailed in Bond County Monday morning.

Just before 6 AM 18 cars jumped off the tracks near Main St. in the town of Smithboro. Investigators say the 59-car CSX train was going from East St. Louis to Avon, Indiana.

No injuries were reported and investigators continue work to determine the cause of the derailment. 

Published in Local News

   MADRID (AP) - A Spanish court official says 77 people were killed when a passenger train derailed on a curvy stretch of track in northwestern Spain in what was one of the country's worst rail accidents in decades.

   Maria Pardo Rios, spokeswoman for the Galicia region's main court, said Thursday that 73 people were found dead at the scene of the accident and four died at hospitals.

   At least 140 people were injured in the derailment late Wednesday.

   

Published in National News
Reavis Road is open again after railroad crews worked overnight on the derailment of two cars from a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train.

St. Louis County Police say a mechanical problem with a Burlington Northern freight train caused several cars to derail shortly after 8 p.m.

Reavis Road had to be closed between Tesson Ferry and McKenzie in Affton while crews made repairs and got the rail cars back on the track.

There had initially been some concern about a possible leak, but officials say all of the affected cars were empty. And no one was injured.

Officials expect to have Reavis Road back open by 7:00 a.m.
Published in Local News

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