Following comprehensive safety analysis and testing, CTA officials deemed the Yellow Line safe and service will resume at the start of scheduled service on Friday (1/5)
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today announced that following comprehensive analysis and testing, the Yellow Line will resume operations at the start of scheduled service on Friday, January 5, at approx. 4:45 a.m. Since the November 16th train collision near Howard station, CTA has worked closely with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), providing full cooperation with their entire investigation while reviewing and re-evaluating safety protocols to ensure the safest and most comfortable service possible for our riders.
Over the past several weeks, the CTA has extensively examined all aspects of Yellow Line operations, from tracks and signals to train operations and communications. Several test trains have run along the line, over multiple days in various weather conditions.
“We extend our gratitude to our riders impacted by this incident and for their patience,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “My No. 1 priority for our customers and employees is safety. I wanted to make sure we looked at every aspect of this incident, as thoroughly as we could, to ensure the highest levels of safety when we reopened. I will never compromise safety for expediency.”
To support the reopening, the CTA has outlined several interim safety enhancements, “out of an abundance of caution,” Carter said. Among the measures:
- Reduced Travel Speeds: Yellow Line trains will run at reduced speeds of 35 mph, down from 55 mph.
- Track Cleaning: Crews also have power-washed the Yellow Line, clearing debris and residue from the rail.
- Enhanced Operations Communications: CTA also added an extra layer of communication and protection, implementing what’s known as “manual blocking” on the rails for non-transport vehicles, such as snowplows and other heavy construction equipment. This is an operational control protocol that requires railcars and non-transport equipment to move only after receiving a verbal command from CTA’s Control Center
- Supervised Operations: Supervisory personnel will accompany operators on the first few Yellow Line runs.
“The NTSB did not require CTA to implement these safety enhancements; these mitigation measures are being made out of an abundance of caution to further protect our employees and riders,” said CTA Chief Safety and Security Officer, Nancy-Ellen Zusman.
Zusman noted that the NTSB has not issued any safety directives to CTA, and that the NTSB has been informed of the interim steps the CTA is taking prior to the Yellow Line reopening. “We continue to work very closely with the NTSB in support of its investigation.”
The NTSB continues its investigation into this matter, including the factors that contributed to the incident. A final report is expected to be issued later this year.