Train Derails At Chicago Airport, Plows Across Platform And Crashes At Top Of Escalator

Dozens were injured on Monday morning when a commuter train derailed at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. In what sounds like a hellish ordeal, the train flew off the rails at around 2:40 in the morning, plowed across a platform and made it halfway up a nearby escalator in the train station. No one is sure what caused the derailment, but officials suspect the train operator may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The eight-car Blue Line train hasn’t even been moved yet: It’ll remain at the top of the escalator for at least the rest of the day while federal investigators try and assess what caused the crash. According to the president of a local union, there’s an “indication” that the driver dozed off prior to the crash.

“She worked a lot of hours in the past week, and the indication is there for that,” said Robert Kelly of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308. “I can confirm she was extremely tired.”

Miraculously, even though 32 people were injured in the crash, no one was killed. Officials credit this in part to the fact that it took place so early in the morning: Had there been any commuters on the train platform — and it’s usually packed during the day — they most likely would have been run over. As it is, none of the injuries were life threatening.

The station is still shut down, and the Chicago Transit Authority is currently busing passengers to the next station in line.

“The biggest problem we have on the job is complacency,” Kelly said. “You go years and years with nothing happening and then the perfect storm comes. From what I seen this morning, this looks like the perfect storm.’’