Metra mess clogs Chicago commute on Wednesday

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CHICAGO — The derailment of three coach cars on a Metra train caused several track closings at Chicago Union Station and delays for thousands of commuters and Amtrak passengers Wednesday.

Metra officials said the third, fourth, and fifth cars of an eight-car SouthWest Service train derailed approximately 10:50 p.m. Tuesday as the train was arriving at the station.

The derailed cars remained upright and the five other cars and locomotive remained on the tracks. There were no injuries to the three passengers on board, Metra said.

Union Station and the tracks are owned by Amtrak, which referred most questions to Metra. As of Wednesday afternoon, Metra said it had not determined the cause of the derailment.

Crews used cranes Wednesday to remove the train before attempting to repair several switch and signal systems that were damaged in the incident, Metra and Amtrak said.

The switches control a number of tracks into Union Station’s busy South Concourse, causing train traffic into the station to be restricted.

In addition to the SouthWest Service and Heritage Corridor lines and Amtrak, the South Concourse serves Metra’s busiest line, the BNSF, with nearly 64,000 riders each weekday.

Significant delays were reported Wednesday morning and were expected to continue during the evening.

North Concourse trains were largely unaffected, officials said.

A Metra train sustained a minor derailment May 27, 2016, on the tracks leading into Union Station’s North Concourse. No one was on board the train at the time.
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