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Rail News: Safety

In wake of Blue Line-O'Hare crash, CTA issues new rules for train operators


The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) on Friday announced changes in its scheduling of rail operators as a result of an internal agency review of scheduling procedures following the March 24 accident at the Blue Line station at O'Hare International Airport.

The changes include setting a maximum of 12 hours of actual train-operations duty — including layover times at terminals and non-driving rail duties — for rail operations employees in a 14-hour time period. Currently, there is no maximum, CTA officials said in a press release.

In addition, the change increases the minimum rest period between shifts from eight to 10 hours; requires all rail operations employees to take at least one day off in any seven-day period (currently there's no limit); and restricts new operators to 32 hours of train operations during their first year on the job (currently there's no limit).

The accident occurred when a Blue Line CTA train jumped the track and ran up an escalator before it crashed, injuring 30 people. The train operator admitted to dozing off at the controls.

"Any time an incident like this occurs, we take very seriously the responsibility of thoroughly reviewing all aspects of what happened — including longstanding policies and practices," said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "In this instance, there were changes we could make that are appropriate and that further maximize safety for our customers and for our employees."

The National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the incident is continuing. Meanwhile, the CTA fired the operator on Friday after she did not show up for a disciplinary hearing, according to a report in The Chicago Tribune.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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