Train Operator in Derailment That Injured 32 People Was 'Extremely Tired'

It's an absolute miracle no one was killed when a passenger train at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport didn't stop at the end of its line and instead jumped off the tracks and climbed up an escalator and stairs, leaving 32 people injured -- though none seriously hurt. The eight-car train was being operated by a conductor who reportedly said she was "extremely tired" prior to the trip, according to the president of a transit union.


The train operator reportedly worked overtime before the incident and had been operating the train at 3 a.m. when the derailment occurred, but according to the union head, she had been given a 17-hour break prior to starting her nighttime shift. She, as well as all 32 injured passengers, were hospitalized but are either in fair or good condition.

Investigators believe the train was traveling too fast, but they're still looking into the possibility that faulty brakes or signals were the cause of the problem. And, of course, they will interview the conductor once she's released from the hospital and check her medical background, as well as test her for drugs and alcohol. Some are saying it's totally possible she fell asleep moments before the crash, though we don't have any reason to believe this is true yet.

What a frightening nightmare for everyone involved. Passengers report having heard a "boom" and then realizing once they exited the train that it had barreled up the staircase and escalator. It's a really good thing this accident took place in the middle of the night and not during rush hour. I can't even begin to imagine how many injuries and deaths might have occurred if the train derailed while thousands of people were climbing up and down the stairs and commuting to and from the airport at peak times.

Do you always feel safe while traveling on trains, or do you fear something like this could happen at any time?


Image via Payton Chung/Flickr

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