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About 2:49 a.m. on March 24, 2014, Chicago Transit Authority train No. 141 collided with the bumping post near the end of the center pocket track at O’Hare Station. The lead car rode over the bumping post and went up an escalator at the end of the track. The escalator provided public access to enter O’Hare International Airport from the platform in the station, but no one was using it at the time of the accident. About 50 people were on the train at the time of the accident. Thirty-three injured passengers and the injured train operator were taken to the hospital. The estimated damage was $11,196,796. The accident occurred in an underground station that was not impacted by weather conditions. The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the failure of the train operator to stop the train at the appropriate signal due to falling asleep as a result of fatigue, which was the result of the challenges of working shiftwork, circadian factors, and acute sleep loss resulting from her ineffective off-duty time management. In addition, Chicago Transit Authority failed to effectively manage the operator’s work schedule to mitigate the risk of fatigue. Contributing to the severity of the accident was Chicago Transit Authority’s failure to identify the insufficient stopping distance and inadequate speed restriction at the center pocket track at O’Hare Station.
TO THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: Require that new or rehabilitated rail transit vehicles be equipped with event recorders meeting Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standard 1482.1 for rail transit vehicle event recorders.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Chicago, IL, United States
Preliminary Report Railroad DCA14FR007
Chicago Transit Authority Train Collides with Bumping Post and Escalator at O’Hare Station
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FTA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We note that you recognize the value of event data recorders for purposes of accident reconstruction, that you intend to act on this recommendation as quickly as is practical, and that you are considering a survey of the rail transit industry to determine the current percentage of rail transit vehicles equipped with EDRs. We are encouraged that you plan to use the survey results to evaluate the availability of event data recorders and their adaptability to the various modes of rail transit (for example, rapid rail, light rail, and streetcar). Please keep us informed as you make progress toward these goals. Pending completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation R-15-23 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Therese W. McMillan, Acting Administrator: In our January 16, 2008, response to safety recommendation R-02-19, we explained our efforts to assess the utilization of electronic data recorders (EDRs) by heavy and light rail transit agencies around the Nation. At that time the FTA projected that by 2012 more than 50 percent of the Nation's rail transit vehicles would be equipped with EDRs. The FTA is considering another survey of the rail transit industry to determine the current percentage of rail transit vehicles equipped with EDRs. The results of this survey will be used by the FTA to evaluate the availability of event data recorders and their adaptability to the various modes of rail transit (e.g., rapid rail, light rail, streetcar). The FTA recognizes the value of event data recorders for purposes of accident reconstruction, and we intend to act on this recommendation as quickly as practicable.
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