Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls the sight of a derailed Chicago train on a station escalator “jarring.”
There is a scene in the last James Bond movie, Skyfall, where he is chased by a London subway train that falls through a hole in the ceiling of an underground chamber and chases the intrepid adventurer, before coming to rest in a mess of tangled girders and twisted metal.
The other day in Chicago something similar happened when a train driver fell asleep at the wheel and the train she was by then “not driving” bumped the curb at the end of the line and drove itself half way up an escalator.
That sounds a little strange as an explanation actually if that is all there is to it. In London the tube trains instead have what is called a “dead man’s hand”, whereby if the driver takes his or her hand of a lever they are supposed to hold at all times, or the pressure on it reduces because of death, incapacity or – yes – falling asleep the brakes of the train are automatically activated and the train is topped.
Luckily the incident in Chicago happened at three o’clock in the morning when nobody was around or there could have been many more serious injuries.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel runs the city of Chicago, so a troublesome climbing train is clearly on his personal to-do ist of things to take charge of, and to be photographed beside.
Accordingly, he took a first-hand look at the derailed Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line train after flying back into Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, following a fundraising trip to Florida. When he saw the train with its lead car half way up the escalator, Emanuel couldn’t believe his eyes.
“It’s jarring I suppose is the one word I would use to describe it … he said adding, “I took the train this morning. You see the train on the tracks … In your mind’s eye you can’t imagine the train up on an escalator. It’s a very jarring picture, ”
“Thank God nobody was seriously injured . . . Had that happened three hours later in the middle of rush and not at three a.m., it could have been a whole different situation. While obviously there are still people dealing with their physical conditions, nobody was seriously hurt and that is something we have to take a blessing in.”
Emanuel added after further questioning on the matter, “There’s going to be a complete report by the National Transportation Safety Board. It will relate to people maybe falling asleep. But it will also relate to other things that could have been done earlier in the system . . . You have to wait for that.”
“There will be a report and then, … I’m not gonna prejudge the NTSB. I’m not gonna react to a trickle, piece of information. They’ll get you the complete report. What do we have to do from the worker piece? What do we have to from other safety pieces?”
Already, the Chicago Sun-Times reports, several lawsuits have been filed by injured early morning passengers and unlucky escalator riders.