Two electrical workers with the CTA have been fired and two others were suspended following the collision in September of a “ghost train” that traveled for nearly a mile from the West Side rail yard and struck a stopped Blue Line train at the Harlem station.
The cause of the September 30 accident was attributed to a CTA switch worker who left the four-car train in powered-up mode while in storage at the rail yard, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Electricity was running to the lights and propulsion system. Around 30 people on the Blue Line train suffered injuries from the head-on collision.
Two workers were fired for improper techniques in cleaning the electrical junction box of one of the runaway train’s cars and for allowing water to enter the electrical components, according to the CTA. According to spokesperson Brain Steele, these techniques were one of the causes of the accident.
The switchman who did not power down the train, and violated CTA regulations by failing to notify a supervisor, was suspended without pay for three days.
The president of the CTA rail workers union charges that the CTA used the employee as a scapegoat for the accident after the NTSB determined the CTA routinely leaves out-of-service trains with power on and brakes not fully engaged. The CTA disputed these findings, but made immediate changes to procedures.
A CTA supervisor who was in charge of rail car cleaning was also suspended for two weeks without pay, according to the CTA.