WBEZ | commuter railroad http://www.wbez.org/tags/commuter-railroad Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en October 30, 1972: Chicago's great train wreck http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/october-30-1972-chicagos-great-train-wreck-103335 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/WFr5zhQnZO4" width="601"></iframe></p><p>Each workday, Chicago&rsquo;s commuter railroads transport over 200,000 people, safely and without incident. This is one day it didn&rsquo;t happen that way.</p><p>The story takes place on the line now known as the Metra Electric. At approximately 7:25 a.m., northbound Illinois Central train #416 overshot the 27th Street station. The train was made up of four new, double-deck, lightweight cars. The engineer stopped the train and began backing up.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-30--old%20style%20IC%20train.jpg" style="float: right; height: 200px; width: 300px; " title="Older-style steel IC commuter train" /></div><p>Three minutes behind, train #720 was moving down the tracks at 40 mph. This was an express, with six older, single-level cars of heavy steel. When the first train passed the station, it had tripped a block signal, indicating that the track was clear. Coming through the morning fog, the engineer of #720 saw the leading train too late.</p><p>The front car of #720 slammed into the rear of #416, and smashed straight through, before grinding to a halt on the tracks. People screamed. Those who could scrambled for exits doors. But in the two telescoped cars, the passengers were caught in a tangled, mangled mess.</p><p>By coincidence, the accident occurred less than a hundred yards from Michael Reese Hospital, and within a few blocks of Mercy Hospital. Medical personnel from both facilities rushed to the scene. Alerted by extra alarms, the first wave of 240 firemen arrived. They began rescuing trapped people from the wreckage &ndash; and removing the bodies of the dead.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/10-30--Trib 10-31-72.jpg" style="float: left; height: 273px; width: 300px; " title="'Chicago Tribune' front page--October 31, 1972" />By early afternoon, rescue operations were completed. An &ldquo;outdoor hospital&rdquo; had been set up on the station platform, to evaluate injuries and set priorities for treatment. Dozens of ambulances and police squadrols &ndash; and two helicopters &ndash; were used to transport the victims to seven hospitals.</p><p>Since the Illinois Central was an electric railroad, there had been no fire &ndash; which may have been the only positive thing about the accident. Trains #416 and #720 had carried a combined total of about 1,000 passengers. Of that number, about 350 were injured. The final death toll was 45. Mayor Richard J. Daley, who lived nearby and was an early visitor to the scene, ordered the city&rsquo;s flags to be flown at half-mast.</p><p>The 1972 accident was the deadliest train wreck in the city&rsquo;s history. As a result of the tragedy, the rears of all Chicago commuter cars are now painted in high-visibility orange.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/october-30-1972-chicagos-great-train-wreck-103335 Plans made to extend Indiana commuter rail to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/plans-made-extend-indiana-commuter-rail-chicago-88739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-05/AP00120401216.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The operators of northern Indiana's commuter railroad are eying a plan to extend the main line from Hammond to the city of Dyer.</p><p>Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District spokesman John Parsons says the proposed eight-mile-long extension has strong support from the mayors and town managers along the northern U.S. 41 corridor.</p><p>The Times of Munster reports that seven trains per day would carry 4,510 passengers per week into Chicago along the proposed Dyer-to-Hammond route.</p><p>Officials say previous plans to extend the South Shore to Lowell and Valparaiso would have to wait for completion of the Dyer branch.</p><p>Once fares are deducted from the new line's operating costs, the district would need about $26.1 million a year to pay foroperations and debt service on construction bonds.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 05 Jul 2011 16:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/plans-made-extend-indiana-commuter-rail-chicago-88739