Loop tragedy was second major crash in 13
By Wesley Hanzell
Date of Publication: February 5, 1977
THE PLUNGE OF A CTA train from the tracks at Lake Street and
Wabash Avenue in Friday evening's rush hour was the second major
accident involving the city's rapid-transit lines in 13 months.
On Jan. 9, 1976, also during rush hour a train crashed into the
rear of another at the Addison Street station of the Jefferson Park
line. Two passengers were killed and 310 hurt in the accident.
Major accidents have plagued the elevated lines since they began
operating shortly after the World's Columbian Exposition here in
A CTA spokesman said Friday, however, that there have been only six
derailments in the elevated lines' history in which cars fell to the
ground. And in most cased he said they involved only one or two cars.
Two occurred in 1896 and another in 1908.
Looking down at the 1977 "L"
accident from the downtown offices of the Central Electric
Railfans' Association. (Photo by
THE FOLLOWlNG IS a list of some of the major accidents involving
elevated trains in more modern times:
- On Nov. 24, 1936, 10 persons were killed and 234 injured on
the Howard Street line when
a Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad interurban train
smashed into the rear of a rapid-transit train at the Granville
- On Nov. 8, 1956, 8 persons were killed and 635 injured when a
CTA train on the Howard line collided with a standing North Shore
interurban train at the Wilson
- On Dec. 7, 1956, one person died and 34 were injured when a
wooden CTA train caught fire and burned at the Howard
- On Dec. 7, 1966, 2 persons were killed and 25 injured when two
cars of a CTA train derailed and fell to the ground near 40th
Street and Indiana
- On Sept. 18. 1969, 300 persons were injured when a CTA train
rammed another on a curve on the elevated line near 40th Street
and Calumet Avenue.
- On April 7. 1972, 46 persons were injured when two rapid
transit cars plunged from the elevated structure at 40th Street
and Wabash Avenue.
- On Nov. 2, 1973, 27 persons aboard a special CTA train were
injured when the Evanston line train they were riding hit the rear
of another at the South
Boulevard station in Evanston.
- On May 10, 1974, 225 persons were injured when a CTA train
smashed into the rear of another on the Englewood elevated line at
29th and State streets where one of the trains had stopped because
of an equipment malfunction. It was the fifth elevated train
accident of 1974. Two of them involved injuries to 50 persons, and
three were derailments. None of the trains involved fell to the
ONE OF THE worst CTA accidents, however, did not involve the rapid
transit system. It occurred on May 25, 1950, when 34 persons were
killed as a CTA trolley car collided with a gasoline truck and burned
at 62d Place and State Street.
The city's worst commuter train accident occurred on Oct., 30,
1972, when an Illinois Central Gulf Railroad train smashed into the
rear of another train at the line's 27th Street station, killing 45
and injuring more than 300.