Loop tragedy was second major crash in 13 months


By Wesley Hanzell

Date of Publication: February 5, 1977
Source: Chicago Tribune


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 1893.

Looking down at the 1977 "L" accident from the downtown offices of the Central Electric Railfans' Association. (Photo by M. Charnota)

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.

THE FOLLOWlNG IS a list of some of the major accidents involving elevated trains in more modern times:

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.