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CTA Red, Brown, Purple Line Trains Shut Down During Thursday Morning Rush Due To Electrical Problem

A CTA worker said the outage was caused when a train hit a track signal, causing it to fall into the tracks and hit the third rail.

Passengers rush to a board a Howard-Bound Red Line train at the Lake Street station in January 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — North Side commuters were scrambling Thursday after CTA service was shut down on the Red, Purple and Brown lines for hours.

At of 9:15 a.m., Brown Line trains were running with delays and congestion, but Red Line trains were temporarily stopped between Wilson and Fullerton and Purple Line Express trains were stopped, according to the CTA. Local Purple Line service was still running Howard to Linden.

A CTA worker said the outage was caused when a train hit a track signal, causing it to fall into the tracks and hit the third rail.

Shuttle buses were sent to impacted stations, according to the CTA. Red Line trains started running again with major delays around 11:30 a.m.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Crews could be seen working on the Red Line tracks just north of the Belmont Station in Lakeview.

Jayla Jackson, 18, said she was running late to Lane Tech High School because of the service shutdown.

“I was riding the Red Line and they didn’t tell us anything about this until we got to Fullerton,” Jackson said. “When we got to Fullerton, they said, ‘Everybody off,’ and that there would be a shuttle bus waiting for us.”

The shuttle bus didn’t arrive for another 15 minutes, Jackson said.

“I’m really late to school now, so I hope they’re understanding about this,” Jackson said before hopping onto another bus.

Others were calling Ubers and other ride-share services instead of waiting for the CTA’s shuttle buses.

Reagan Williams, 23, said she was running late to her serving job because of the outage.

“I didn’t know this was happening, so I got up on the CTA platform and saw a bunch of construction workers on the tracks and realized the trains were out of service,” Williams said. “I took a picture of the sign so my boss would believe me that this happened.”

Williams called an Uber instead of waiting for the Red Line shuttle because she thought it would arrive faster, she said.

“But now I get to spend even more money on an Uber on top of the CTA pass I just bought,” she said.

Ken Anderson, 52, said he was frustrated by the lack of communication surrounding the shuttle buses.

“I waited 20 minutes for my bus only to find out I was waiting for the northbound bus instead of southbound,” Anderson said.

Anderson’s correct bus had already passed twice, but he was waiting in the wrong line, he said.

“They need signs out here or more people directing us where to go,” Anderson said.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Commuters line up for a Red Line shuttle bus Thursday morning outside the Belmont Station in Lakeview.

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