Monday, June 21, 2010



  • The operator of a Red Line train who reported a fire in the subway on Sunday was told by the CTA control center to proceed through the smoky tunnel after he told officials the fire had dissipated, the president of the rail workers union said today.
  • But while continuing around a curve toward the Clark Division station, the operator of the northbound train saw flames on the track and "decided it was better to go through the fire than have the train sit on top of it,'' said Robert Kelly, who talked to the eight-year veteran train operator. Kelly is president of Local 308 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
  • But by passing over the fire, "the train dragged smoke all over the place,'' Kelly said.

They decided to drive a train into a smoky tunnel without checking for a fire? The CTA never seems to be able to handle these emergencies. Every year or so we have an emergency like this where people need to evacuate the stations and tunnels. Every time people have the same complaints about no communications and poor evacuation procedures. This system is a huge disaster waiting to happen. These last few incidents have been minor issues that turned into major emergencies due to poor evacuation preparedness. You never see this in New York or any of the other major cities in the U.S. If we have a major emergency, I'm afraid we will have many unnecessary casualties. How many times do they need to see these problems before they correct them? It's more than just a CTA issue. The OEMC is responsible for emergency management. We have all these people working here with emergency management shirts. What are they doing? Is it just another do-nothing clout job? I never hear anything about their plans or preparedness for emergencies. No one ever questions them about the CTA emergencies or their plans for the Taste of Chicago or any of the other events that bring huge crowds together. The Blackhawks parade was peaceful because the crowd was peaceful. If there was an incident it would have been a disaster. There was no emergency plan in place. They had an emergency drill last week. We were given no information about it. They needed to use a citywide for the CTA part of the drill. Problem was they never informed the ops floor. There was a zone using the citywide due to technical difficulties. Ten minutes before the exercise they are panicking because they need to get the zone off the citywide. I think people in this city need to start questioning the competence of our Emergency Management department. Before it's too late.

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