Special Investigation Report

Two Rear-End Collisions Involving Chicago Transit Authority Rapid Transit Trains at Chicago, Illinois June 17 and August 3, 2001

NTSB Number SIR-02/01
NTIS Number PB2002-917006

Introduction: Within a 2-month period in 2001, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) experienced two similar rear-end collisions involving CTA rapid transit trains. Both accidents were preceded by the train operators' having failed to comply with operating rules designed to prevent collisions. The investigation of the two accidents highlighted deficiencies in the CTA management's approach to ensuring rules compliance among its operators. This special investigation report addresses the factors common to both collisions.

The first accident occurred about 11:40 a.m., central daylight time, on Sunday, June 17, 2001, when CTA train 104, en route from downtown Chicago to O'Hare Airport, collided with standing CTA train 207 on the Blue Line near Addison Street Station. Each train consisted of four passenger cars. About 75 passengers were on train 104, and about 40 passengers were on train 207. Eighteen passengers, an off-duty CTA employee, and both train operators sustained minor injuries. The CTA estimated damages at $30,000.

The second accident occurred about 9:04 a.m., central daylight time, on Friday, August 3, 2001, when CTA Brown Line train 416, en route from Kimball to downtown Chicago, collided with standing CTA Purple Line train 505 on elevated tracks near Hill Street. Each train consisted of six passenger cars. The accident occurred during morning rush hour, and both trains had standing loads estimated at 90 passengers per car. Chicago Police Department logs indicate that 118 people were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries, none of which were life threatening. The CTA estimated damages at $136,138.

This special investigation report discusses the following safety issues:

As a result of this special investigation, the Safety Board makes recommendations to the Chicago Transit Authority, the American Public Transportation Association, and the Federal Transit Administration.