Dilemma… should I sorrowfully write about the safety issues, and that 30 people were injured, or should I yelp in morbid excitement at the thought of a tube train riding up an escalator?

For that is exactly what happened yesterday across the Pond, in Chicago.

It is a very serious accident, and there are reports that the train driver may have fallen asleep just before the train jumped the tracks and plowed ahead, eventually riding up the escalator at the end of the platform.

Fortunately, it’s a huge station, for if such an accident were even possible in London, the train would have been squashed into a tiny tunnel space. Not unlike the Moorgate disaster, which would have been a far worse situation.

Fortunately, the accident here took place at about 2:50am, when the line is at its quietest.

Most of the injured passengers were treated for minor injuries and released.

And yet, for all the expectation of concern for those injured, the travel disruption being caused, etc, I just can’t get past the amazing sight of a train stuck near the top of an escalator.

It’s just not something you ever expect to see, outside of a weird dream one night.

The most astonishing photo is here.

In fact, it reminded me, in a gallows-humour sort of way of this press photo from a couple of years ago promoting a tube-train shaped camping tent for children.


The CTA website confirms, unsurprisingly, that the escalator is now out of action, although so is most of the line in the area.


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  1. Sykobee says:

    It seems indicative of a major failing in line safety mechanisms that should have tripped the brakes on the train when it was going to fast entering the station, or possibly even a serious lack of such mechanisms. Also it seems worthwhile to look at driver work hours and to compare them to UK/European regulations.

    It is really really lucky that nobody died.

  2. Matt says:

    Add to what Sykobee said that there was also no overrun tunnel hence the unit running up the escalators. On a lighter note, perhaps it just wanted to go and watch the planes?

  3. Ed says:

    …and also the fact a service is provided at 2.50am

  4. Tom Rainbow says:

    I know we shouldn’t make light of transport accidents, but my favourite photo is of the train dangling out of the window at Montparnasse Station, Paris in about 1898. Only one person died in this: the wife of the newspaper vendor in the kiosk in the street below was hit by a piece of falling masonry.

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