Delays expected during Wednesday evening rush on Metra, Amtrak trains after derailment near Union Station

Metra customers heading from Union Station to the southwest suburbs should expect delays of up to 30 minutes during the Wednesday evening rush hour as crews clean up after an overnight commuter train derailment, officials said.

Amtrak customers will see delays of up to 45 minutes. Some track, switch and signal systems were damaged in the incident, officials said.

It is not yet known whether the damage will affect the Thursday morning commute.

“Tomorrow morning will depend on how much work will be done overnight – we’ll let people know early in the morning what the morning rush will look like,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis.

Riders on the BNSF and SouthWest Service lines could see delays of up to 30 minutes on Wednesday evening while Heritage Corridor riders could see delays of up to 15 minutes, Metra said. Metra officials said that crews worked overnight and all day on Wednesday to remove the train from the tunnel south of Union Station and make repairs.

An eight-car inbound SouthWest Service train was arriving at Union Station around 10:50 p.m. Tuesday when the third, fourth and fifth cars slid off the track, Metra said. Two of the derailed cars still needed to be removed as of 3:30 p.m., said Gillis.

The derailment occurred in a tunnel – a tight space that made removal of the train cars “very challenging,” said Gillis. None of the three passengers on the train were injured.

Derailments can sometimes happen when trains are going too fast, but Gillis said this train was going about 9 mph as it approached the station. The derailed cars remained upright and the cause of the derailment is not yet known.

Metra derailments are infrequent, Gillis said. One that caused major delays and cancellations was in March 2015, when a train bound for Antioch derailed at a crossing on the northwest side of Chicago, near the end of what is now the 606 bike and pedestrian trail.

The area affected by Tuesday’s derailment is owned and maintained by Amtrak.

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune
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