Union Station signal failure caused by ‘human error’: Amtrak

SHARE Union Station signal failure caused by ‘human error’: Amtrak
20190228_162853.jpg

Union Station’s Great Hall was filled with waiting commuters Feb. 28. Signal problems that halted Amtrak and Metra trains at Union Station in the morning also are likely to cause major delays for people headed home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

The Amtrak computer failure that caused extensive delays at Union Station Thursday was caused, in part, by a worker falling on a circuit board, according to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

In a statement Friday morning, Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson said the failure was caused by “human error in the process of deploying a server upgrade in our technology facility that supports our dispatch control system at Chicago Union Station.”

Durbin said in a statement Friday that he had spoken to Anderson, who told him that Amtrak “made a series of errors” that caused the disruption.

“The most important error they made was to decide to do a server upgrade to their computers during peak hours of service,” Durbin said. “This should be done in the middle of the night when only a handful of trains are running. Along with that, a worker fell on a circuit board, which turned off the computers and lead to the interruption of service that went on all day long.”

The signal problems halted all train movement at Union Station for more than an hour Thursday morning. Even after trains were moving again, the failure caused massive delays on all Metra lines operating out of Union Station and left thousands of people stranded for hours during Thursday’s evening commute.

“We own the system,” Anderson said. “We will fix this problem. More importantly, we are taking steps to improve our operations in Chicago, which include appointing a veteran Amtrak executive to make sure we deliver the performance our stakeholders expect of us.”

“In the meantime, we once again apologize to Metra and to everyone who was impacted by yesterday’s disrupted service.”


The Latest
Art
Stunning and much-deserved, it’s the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the Chicago artist’s work.
Davidson said Saturday he expects the Hawks to begin ascending next season after this season’s meager 23-win effort. Coach Luke Richardson said Davidson told him he plans to be active in free agency this summer to help make that happen.
On Saturday, music-lovers visited local record stores for their favorites among more than 380 exclusive releases, including projects from Pearl Jam, David Bowie, the Beatles and Paramore.
The season ended the exact same way it did last season. The glaring difference this time: This season was over before the first half ended. Last year, at least they fought until the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter.
There was a lot of tough talk from Karnisovas on Saturday, especially with the Bulls again out of the playoff picture. It all sounded good, but the Bulls have reached the point where words are only words until they become action.