Collision on CTA’s Brown Line; more delays on Blue Line

February 4, 2011

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(WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)
Insurance broker Alex Yantis waits in frigid cold Friday morning at the Blue Line's Western station.

Two days since a blizzard tailed off, some commuters are still contending with Chicago Transit Authority delays.

Dozens of Brown Line train riders found themselves on shuttle buses Friday morning after a motor vehicle collided with an outbound CTA train near the Rockwell station around 8:45 a.m. CTA spokeswoman Wanda Taylor said the train conductor saw the car backing up on the tracks, which are at street level. She said the conductor stopped the train before impact.

The Chicago Fire Department transported one person from the vehicle to Swedish Covenant Hospital and listed the individual in serious-to-fair condition, department spokesman Richard Rosado said. The collision did not injure anyone on the train, officials said.

Taylor said the CTA cut off power in both directions between the line’s Kimball and Belmont stations. She said the agency restored the service at 9:14 a.m.

The Blue Line, meanwhile, had eight trains fewer than normal through Friday morning's peak hours because some employees didn’t make it in, according to CTA workers. Several inbound trains arrived overloaded at the Western and Damen stations, upsetting commuters who could not squeeze aboard. They had to wait on bitterly cold platforms for trains with some room.

On Thursday morning, some Blue Line riders waited outside more than 90 minutes. At a midday news conference, CTA President Richard Rodriguez blamed the delays on mechanical failures.

“The trains on the Blue Line are our oldest and the cars average over 40 years old,” he said. “So, in this weather, they’re more prone to problems than newer equipment.”