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Old July 13th, 2006, 05:48 AM   #21
hkskyline
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Chicago derailment highlights vulnerability of transit systems
12 July 2006

CHICAGO (AP) - Everyone got out alive, the train operator did as he was trained and the passengers did as they were told. Still, that a small fire on a major commuter line could leave passengers gasping for air and send 152 of them to the hospital highlights just how vulnerable transit systems are to disaster.

The derailment and fire inside a Chicago subway line Tuesday came the same day massive explosions on trains in India killed at least 200 people -- a frightening reminder that there is no easy way to protect passengers on commuter trains, particularly those that run underground.

Officials and others say that after the last car of an eight-car train derailed, things went about as well as possible. They praised the train's operator for getting passengers off the train quickly and noted the orderly way the hundreds of passengers made their way through a darkened and smoky tunnel to an emergency exit.

"In terms of what this could have been, I think this was a remarkable achievement that they could get that thing evacuated with very few injuries," said David Schulz, director of Northwestern University's Infrastructure Technology Institute.

The cause of the derailment and fire was under investigation, but law enforcement officials said they had found no indication of foul play or terrorism.

The incident, which disrupted the routines of thousands of commuters, reminded many that train and subway systems have been far more seriously affected by terrorist attacks, such as those in London last year and Madrid in 2004. A suspected plot to attack New York's subway system was recently uncovered.

"One of the reasons, of course, terrorists are moving to trains is they are less protected, they are more open, there are systematic problems with protecting them," said Ivan Eland, a security analyst who is director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute, a research firm. "Also, airport security has improved a lot since 9/11, so terrorists are taking their attacks where security isn't."

Such an attack was certainly on the minds of commuters Wednesday.

"People were thinking about anthrax and terrorism," said Yvette Mangren, who was on the train in front of the one that derailed Tuesday night. "It's really sad our country and city has come to this."

As she walked to work Wednesday, Mangren said the incident was especially stressful because as the smell of smoke drifted into her train car, the voice on the train's intercom said only that the train was stopped for a signal change.

"They're saying, `We're waiting for a signal change, waiting for a signal change,' and we could smell smoke," she said.

Chicago Transit Authority spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler defended the announcement, saying it was accurate and was part of a strategy to move trains into stations.

"Basically, what was done was done to move that train out and into the station, and that was done fairly quickly," she said. "It was a tense situation, but we were providing information as quickly as possible."

National Transportation Safety Board investigators on Wednesday interviewed the operator, the only crew member on the train, as the board tried to piece together what happened, said NTSB member Kitty Higgins.

The operator has worked for the CTA since March 2005, but Tuesday was just his second day on the line where the derailment occurred, Higgins said.

The train was too old to have a data recorder, now required in newer commuter trains, she said.

------

Associated Press writer Carla K. Johnson contributed to this report.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 06:24 AM   #22
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What's the point of that article? DRIVE A CAR, CITIZEN. IT'S THE ONLY WAY YOU'LL BE SAFE.
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Old July 13th, 2006, 08:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randwicked
What's the point of that article? DRIVE A CAR, CITIZEN. IT'S THE ONLY WAY YOU'LL BE SAFE.

AMEN!
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Old July 13th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #24
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There are legitimate concerns regarding transit safety especially with suicide bombers, remote-controlled bombs, and even biological attacks. However, this article seems to highlight the importance of having good safety procedures so in case of any attack or accident, people can be evacuated quickly and orderly. I don't think it's a call for people to drive instead of taking transit. It's far more dangerous to be on the road than on the train.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 01:11 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randwicked
What's the point of that article? DRIVE A CAR, CITIZEN. IT'S THE ONLY WAY YOU'LL BE SAFE.
To suggest that people should drive simply because they might be involved in a "very rare" accident on public transport is crazy.

The roads are where the real danger is to be found.

Here in Britain over 3500 people die on the roads every year, plus many more injured.... and our safety records are amongst the best for any nation globally.

OK, last year some people died in bomb attacks, but apart from that since 2002 no passengers died on our railways.

Bomb attacks are different, because they could just as easily be anywhere, affecting pedestrians & car drivers too.

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Old July 14th, 2006, 01:16 PM   #26
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Well, somebody fell on the track in Russell Square and died last year.
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Old July 14th, 2006, 10:51 PM   #27
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Well thats why you can install warning strips along the edge of a station, platform screen doors or simply not getting so close or making dumb decisions. The truth is that they're are more deaths on the road then on the track.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 04:25 AM   #28
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NTSB finishes initial on-scene phase of Chicago subway derailment
21 July 2006

CHICAGO (AP) - Federal authorities announced Friday they have completed their initial on-site investigation of the derailment of a Chicago subway that sent more than 150 people to hospitals.

Rail car equipment and various segments of the track components have been sent to the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory in Washington D.C. for analysis, said agency spokesman Terry N. Williams.

The Chicago Transit Authority also has provided the NTSB with track inspection records for the past 12 months, Williams said.

A federal investigator said last week that the track at the site of the derailment was too wide prior to the accident. The track exceeded the standard rail-to-rail width at several points by up to 1 1/8 inches, said NTSB investigator Kitty Higgins.

Higgins stressed, however, that investigators have not reached their final conclusions on the accident's cause.

The derailment occurred July 11 when the last car of the eight-car train heading to O'Hare International Airport went off the track, causing material underneath to catch fire. As many as 1,000 people may have been on the train; more than 150 were sent to area hospitals.

Williams said a 12-member team will continue the investigation and has scheduled interviews with track maintenance personnel, state safety oversight experts and CTA personnel.

The NTSB also announced that the subway's signal system was tested and no irregularities were noted. But signal data is still being reviewed, officials said.

CTA spokeswoman Sheila Gregory said the agency is not commenting while the NTSB investigation is under way.

------

On the Net:

CTA: http://www.transitchicago.com/

NTSB: http://www.ntsb.gov/
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Old July 28th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #29
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Well there were some renderings released today.

Click for bigger images





No surprises here. It's still disappointing, as they could have done something to make the new trains seem, well, new. These are just basically a continuation of what we already have except with a few more electronic signs and different seating.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 05:56 PM   #30
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I like how they look. Euro trains always look to plasticy and shiney. I think these cars look strong and masculine, and will be able to take the nitty gritty task of public transportation.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #31
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Yuck. They look like they are rehabs of old 30's designs.

Is there a reason why trains in America look so industrial and cobbled together? It seems other countries can put some element of design into them to make them attractive - the American ones look so user unfriendly and like they were thrown together from old parts.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 06:08 PM   #32
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I think that american trains have more hazards to face such as vandalism, tracks not being kept in pristine condition, weather elements (this train runs mostly outside, correct?) and worst of all lack of funding. These cars are usually the bare essentials. Adding some nice aesthetic elements would drive up costs, and most states do not provide enough funding for public transit.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #33
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sorry, but this is really a big disappointment....

This can have only political reasons, bombardier is building so many nice, modern looking trains all over the world, and now in chicago in the year 2006 they are building this alloy box with this mad max like chains at the end....

I mean, more beatyfull is NOT more expansive, here in germany we dont have money to waste at all, an look at our public transport

Somehow I believe they wish, that it looks cheap, and old, I cannot explain it otherways......
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Old August 14th, 2006, 08:23 PM   #34
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Railway systems have always suffered this risk! The solution was first presented in 1989 in Bologna University/ as a technical concept paper "Skywheels" by Mr Rajaram, then engineered and framed the specifications, proved on regular test-track (year 2005-06)the new "Skybus Metro Rail Syatem" - a standard gauge metro rail, eliminating the danger of derailments or capsizing by providing , hither to missing link of positive connection between the railway guidance and the running bogies. Patents too granted by USA. We can have the happy journey by rail without worrying about such mishaps! The solution is not to drive your own car, of course!
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Old July 21st, 2007, 07:28 AM   #35
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Chicago 'L'

Not sure if Chicago's L has had a thread like this, but anyways...

[IMG]http://imagesource.allposters.com/images/pic/PTGPOD/432753~L-Station-a
t-O-Hare-Intl-Airport-Chicago-IL-Posters.jpg[/IMG]
image hosted on flickr


Chicago's 'L' has been around since 1892. One of the USA's rapid transit systems. Since when I go to Chicago, i'm a tourist. And when I use the L i love it. But, if your a citizen, you may be use to delays, old dilapidated stations and such. Though the CTA (The Chicago Transit Authority, whom operates the 'L') has had financial problems, there are planes to replace rails and rebuild/renovate dilapidated stations.




System map:
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Old July 21st, 2007, 10:07 AM   #36
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Quote:
image hosted on flickr

Well, yes, we already had a bunch of "El" threads, nevertheless, its nice to see it again.
I have also been to Chicago and even lived there for a while.
The EL is really part of the culture of that city. Chicago without EL wouldnt be Chicago.
Nevertheless, me and most other europeans are quite shocked about how run-down a transport system can be, in a city as rich as Chicago in a country, as rich as the USA.

To be honest, the EL, especialy the Loop, is a moving junk-jard imo.
It would have deserved, to be treated better by the city, that benefits so much from it....

Last edited by pflo777; July 21st, 2007 at 10:12 AM.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 06:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovechicago91 View Post
Not sure if Chicago's L has had a thread like this, but anyways...

image hosted on flickr


The one thing I dislike about Chicago is its elevated downtown metro route. The whole downtown route should have been put underground as other cities Chicago's size have done.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 06:33 PM   #38
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Quote:
The one thing I dislike about Chicago is its elevated downtown metro route. The whole downtown route should have been put underground as other cities Chicago's size have done.
Thats the worst thing you could do to chicago.

Its such a pleasure to drive through the streets on the +1,5 level, not underground, like any other city.
Thats what I meant with the EL being so much a part of Chicago.

But they should renovate it, so that it looks nice from underneath.
Right now it looks, as if it falls apart within the next 15 minutes
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Old July 21st, 2007, 07:07 PM   #39
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The Metra is the real jewel of Chicago's transport system, and considered to be the best commuter train in the U.S.

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Old July 21st, 2007, 07:42 PM   #40
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Do you have some more info on the Metra? Maby a map and more pictures. Thanks
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