An hour or so before the evening rush-hour an Amtrak train derailment caused a massive schedule backup at Chicago’s Union Station as all southbound tracks exiting the station were shut down. The derailment occurred after the wheels on two of the train’s cars derailed. Officials are still looking into what caused the derailment.
Officials expected that the delays would continue into the Thursday morning rush-hour as they continued to work on clearing the damage caused by the derailment. For those of us who rely on public transportation every day, whether Amtrak, Metra, or the CTA, we take for granted that our trains and buses will operate smoothly and safely. Yet this is not always the case.
Whether through the fault of the train operators, faulty equipment, or just poor weather conditions, there are numerous ways that public transportation can take a negative turn. Fortunately, in yesterday’s derailment of the 116 passengers on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, only one reported “not feeling well” following the derailment.
Illinois ranks fairly high in terms of train-related deaths compared to other states, accounting for almost 10% of train-related deaths nationwide in 2008. Almost 75% of all Illinois train accidents are classified as derailments, while only 10% of accidents are collisions.
When using trains and other forms of public transportation we put our trust in the transportation company and employees to transport us safely to our destination. And while sometimes we have to deal with delays it is important to remember that in some cases these delays are for our safety and that things could always be worse.
While some reports of yesterdays derailment referenced the anger and frustration of the delayed commuters, one Chicago native on the scene relayed that she was in fact impressed that the majority of commuters she saw were making light of the situation and waiting patiently. I think we can all take a page from these Illinois commuters and be thankful that all the derailment resulted in were some delays.
Kreisman Law Offices has been practicing Illinois personal injury law for over 30 years, including train accidents, trucking accidents, and car accidents. We service Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Evanston, Naperville, Chicago, and Tinley Park.