Auto-stop activated before CTA train crashed at O`Hare - New York News

Auto-stop activated before CTA Blue Line train crashed at O`Hare

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

An "automatic stop" activated before a CTA train plowed into an O'Hare Airport escalator, an investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday morning.

"Whether it did it in time or not — that's an analysis we have to figure out." said Ted Turpin, the NTSB investigator in charge of piecing together why the Blue Line train failed to stop early Monday, injuring 32 people, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

The train was traveling at "25 or 26 mph" when it approached the station, Turpin said, the proper speed for that area.

NTSB officials have scheduled an interview with the female CTA operator for 1 p.m. Tuesday.

On Monday, Robert Kelly, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local, said "the indications are she may have dozed off."

With the O'Hare station out of commission, shuttle buses ferried travelers to and from the Rosemont station Tuesday morning.

That arrangement might continue for a while, with Turpin saying it could be a week before the train can be removed and the track is usable again. The train's first car, which climbed up past a bumper and onto the station's escalator, will likely have to chopped up to remove it, Turpin said.

In the meantime, investigators will be studying video from 41 station cameras and from the front end of the train, he said. They also will examine such things as the mechanical system and track condition as they try to piece together the crash.

The operator underwent a drug and alcohol test after Monday's crash, as typically required in such an incident.

"She assured me there would be no problem with her passing," Kelly said.

He said his speculation was that the operator was "extremely tired," so instead of braking, the train plowed into the bumping post, which should have stopped the train. But Kelly said he speculated that the post "leaned forward" and "became a catapult."

The impact with the post may have forced the operator's hand forward on the "dead man's" control, to the position of accelerate, Kelly said. That would have given the train a bigger surge up the escalator.

The operator was "very distraught" and "shaken by this." She was treated for leg injuries at a hospital and released.

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