Chicago train derails in airport station, clambers up escalator

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More than 30 people were hurt early Monday morning when a Chicago transit train crashed inside the O'Hare International Airport station.

Investigators are just beginning to examine why the eight-car train jumped the platform at about 2:50 a.m. at the end of the Blue Line at O'Hare and climbed up an escalator, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The train was “apparently traveling at a higher rate of speed than a train would be” while pulling into the station, Chicago Transit Authority spokesman Brian Steele said. The Chicago Sun Times reports that the operator of the train was "walking and talking" at the scene, Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago said.

“It was a lot of panic because it was hard to get people off the train," one passenger told reporters.

All those who were injured were aboard the train, not on the platform or escalator, at the time of the crash, according to news accounts. They were taken in fair or good condition to four hospitals.

About 50 people had been aboard the derailed train, the ABC News affiliate in Chicago reported.

It may take workers 24 hours to cut up the train car on the escalator and remove it piece by piece, Steel said.

Commuter train crashes in the U.S. remain relatively rare. Over the last two decades, for every 1,000,000,000 train passengers, seven have have died, WNYC reported in December after examining federal data.

Among the most recent crashes was a commuter train crash that left four dead and dozens injured in December in the Bronx. In May, a commuter train derailment in Bridgeport, Connecticut, left more than 70 people injured.

Twin Cities transit officials are preparing for emergency situations as they gear up for the launch of the new Green Line light-rail launch June 14. Last week, emergency personnel trained during a drill designed to simulate a train derailment after a bomb explosion on the University of Minnesota campus. The test included "bloodied" victims, a bus turned on its side and a helicopter. MPR had photos from the drill.

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