From: Reuters
Published November 30, 2007 06:40 PM

Several hurt in Chicago Amtrak train collision

CHICAGO (Reuters) - An Amtrak train slammed into a stopped Norfolk Southern freight train on Chicago's South Side on Friday, critically injuring some crew members and leaving several passengers with bloody noses, sprains and bruises.

Firefighters had to extricate critically injured crew members from the Amtrak train's locomotive, which rode up on top of the freight car in a South Side rail yard.

Though only a single engineer is normally required to operate the locomotive on the "Pere Marquette" run to Chicago from Grand Rapids, Michigan, there were other crew members present who were also injured.

"I think that's what's being looked at," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said, adding that the train also carries two conductors and a food service employee.


"Most (passengers) were unhurt and went on to their destinations," Magliari said.

Passenger rail service to and from Chicago to the east would be disrupted for at least a day, he said.

Roughly 50 of 187 passengers received treatment, a Chicago Fire Department spokesman said.

"The majority of people are in good shape," spokesman Larry Langford said.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates transportation accidents, dispatched a team to the scene.

None of the three double-decker passenger cars behind the engine derailed, and about 100 injured passengers were considered "walking wounded," suffering relatively minor injuries from the quick stop, Langford said.

Some passengers told reports they felt the train brake just before the collision, while others said there was no warning.

Norfolk Southern Corp. spokesman Rudy Husband said the freight train that was rammed was traveling in the same direction as the Amtrak train, but had stopped to await a signal to continue. The damaged containers on the freight car did not contain hazardous materials, he added.

"It had to be moving pretty good to end up on top of the freight car," Fire Department spokesman Kevin MacGregor said. He said 19 ambulances were sent to the scene of the crash that occurred shortly before noon local time.

(Reporting by Andrew Stern; editing by Eric Walsh)

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