Blue Line station at O’Hare, scene of derailment, reopens

Written By BY JON SEIDEL AND SAM CHARLES Staff Reporters Posted: 05/01/2014, 07:36am
Array The OÕHare station of the Chicago Transit AuthorityÕs Blue Line reopened about 2 p.m. Sunday, less than a week after a train rolled through the stop and kept going Ñ onto the platform and up an escalator and stairs, transit officials said. | Al Podgorski/Chicago Sun-Times

No more shuttle bus to O’Hare.

Barely less than a week after a Blue Line train rolled through the stop at O’Hare International Airport and crashed onto the platform, the Chicago Transit Authority restored L service to the airport a little after 2 p.m. Sunday and put an end to the shuttle bus rides between Rosemont and the airport.

The CTA said trains are making all stops.

“Sweet, we don’t have to get on a bus,” said Aaron Moteberg of Wyoming.

That summed up the feeling among the first passengers to arrive the newly refurbished O’Hare station — where the scent of fresh wood and paint was most noticeable on a former escalator now converted into a staircase.

Many of them didn’t realize they were on the first train to make the run until they were stopped and questioned by news reporters. But they knew they’d saved time, and that made them happy.

“It wasn’t weird at all to ride it,” said Moteberg’s wife, Brianna.

Martin Garner, 42, of Denver, had seen the surveillance footage of the train jumping the tracks March 24, but he said he held no reservations about the safety of Sunday’s ride.

“I was just relieved I didn’t have to take the [shuttle] bus,” Garner said. “But these people are professionals.”

The wreck that stopped service to O’Hare for nearly a week is still under investigation, but the train’s operator admitted she nodded off before the crash that sent 32 people to local hospitals, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

As service resumed Sunday there was some confusion at the Rosemont station, where riders had earlier been catching rides downtown on either side of the platform.

When CTA officials announced the train on the O’Hare side of the tracks would actually make the run to O’Hare, several people leapt off the train to avoid being taken to the airport.

Chris and Leela Hann-Soden, 26 and 25, were flying home to the California Bay area Sunday and meant to go to O’Hare.

“We actually got off at Rosemont and had to get back on,” Leela said.

Trains traveling into O’Hare are running 10 mph slower now than they did before the crash, CTA officials said, slowing down from 25 mph to 15 mph.

One Blue Line passenger who didn’t want to give his name said he rides the train five days a week. Like his fellow passengers, he didn’t realize he was on the first train into O’Hare since the crash — he was just happy to save some time.

But he said he noticed the reduced speed.

“I feel safer,” he said as the train rolled into the O’Hare station.

Contributing: Mitch Armentrout

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