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Accident Report Detail

Derailment of Chicago Transit Authority Train Number 220 Between Clark/Lake and Grand/Milwaukee Stations

Executive Summary

On Tuesday, July 11, 2006, about 5:06 p.m., central daylight time, the last car of northbound Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train number 220 derailed in the subway between the Clark/Lake and Grand/Milwaukee stations in downtown Chicago, Illinois. About 1,000 passengers were on board the eight-car rapid transit train. Following the derailment, the train came to a stop, and electrical arcing between the last car and the 600-volt direct current third rail generated smoke. The single operator in the lead car received a number of calls on the train intercom. The operator exited the control compartment, stepped onto the catwalk, and walked beside the train to investigate.

Electrical power was removed from the third rail, and most passengers walked to an emergency exit stairway about 350 feet in front of the train that led to the street level. Some passengers had to be assisted in their evacuation by emergency responders. The Chicago Fire Department reported that 152 persons were treated and transported from the scene. There were no fatalities. Total damage exceeded $1 million.​

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the July 11, 2006, derailment of Chicago Transit Authority train number 220 in the subway in Chicago, Illinois, was the Chicago Transit Authority's ineffective management and oversight of its track inspection and maintenance program and its system safety program, which resulted in unsafe track conditions. Contributing to the accident were the Regional Transportation Authority's failure to require that action be taken by the Chicago Transit Authority to correct unsafe track conditions and the Federal Transit Administration's ineffective oversight of the Regional Transportation Authority. Contributing to the seriousness of the accident was smoke in the tunnel and the delay in removing that smoke.​

Accident Location: Chicago , IL    
Accident Date: 7/11/2006
Accident ID: DCA06MR008

Date Adopted: 9/11/2007
NTSB Number: RAR-07-02
NTIS Number: PB2007-916302