Chicago Train Accident

5/28/2008 CHICAGO The two lead cars ran off the track where the rail curves near 59th and Prairie around 10 a.m. No serious injuries are reported and CTA officials said there is no danger of the train falling off the elevated tracks.

The derailment sent the same southbound train in two directions at the 59th Street Junction, where the Green Line splits between the Jackson Park and Englewood branches.

"The train after the 55th stop just started to turn. There was a big jolt in the train. And the conductor ran out of the cockpit and ran out there with the passengers as the train was still moving. Once the train stopped, the conductor then ran back into the cockpit and then made an announcement to try to get everyone to calm down. But everyone on the train knew something happened, knew it was a crash because the train hit too hard once it stopped. So everybody was on the train screaming and yelling and crying," said Brandon Williams, passenger.

One passenger called her brother-in-law, Frank Davis, after the crash.

"She said the train is split in half, OK. She had hit her head and the left side of her body, OK? She was all hysterical when she called. We couldn't understand what she was saying," said Davis. "I calmed her down so I could understand what she was trying to tell us. Therefore we came back this way. Now we're getting ready to go to Jackson Park Hospital where they have taken her."

The Chicago Fire Department removed passengers from the elevated train with power ladders.

"First crews were here within two-and-a-half, three minutes," said Larry Langford, Chicago Fire Dept. "They were brought down very gently, just like an elevator... No problem getting people down."

There were only about two dozen people on the train, which was nearing the end of the line when it derailed, according to the fire department. Fourteen people were taken to the hospital. Three of the most seriously injured have back, neck, or other possibly serious injuries, but are expected to be OK. Ten others refused treatment. Most passengers walked away from the four-car train without help from the fire officials.

"Most are bumps and bruises and going to the hospital to be checked out," said Langford. "Most people worry about something falling off, we tell them it's stable and they calm down and we're able to get them off."

One CTA worker was transported to the hospital. His condition is not available.

Power is off from 35th to 63rd Street while crews work the area.

The Green Line trains are not running in that area. Instead, shuttle buses are moving train passengers from 35th to 63rd. It is not clear when that service will be restored. Passengers should find other alternatives if possible.

Once the train is cleared, an investigation into what caused the train derailment will begin.

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