There have been a number of incidents involved trains in the Chicagoland area over the past couple of days. Improved train safety is an ongoing concern of the train industry, citizen groups and personal injury attorneys.
On Saturday, February 6, 2016, a 28-year old man was struck and killed by a train in Northbrook between the Metra and freight train tracks. The area where the fatality occurred is the site of freight and commuter trains and has been the site of prior incidents.
This morning, a train derailed in the Chicago suburb of Naperville. There were no passengers on board the train at the time of the derailment. An investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the derailment. Researchers examine past data on train incidents, including derailments, in an effort to continually improve train safety. In a 2011 train derailment study, "Analysis of Causes of Major Train Derailment and Their Effect on Accident Rates," published in the "Transportation Research Record" (Volume 2289), researchers found that broken rails or welds were the leading derailment cause on main, yard, and siding tracks. The leading cause of accidents on main tracks were human factor-related causes such as improper use of switches and violation of switching rules. (Metra has had these types of human factor-related derailments in the past. Chicago Magazine described the 2005 Metra Derailment on the Rock Island line and highlight the engineer's "inattentiveness".) The 2011 study further found that in all speed ranges, broken rails or welds were the leading cause of derailments; however, the relative frequency of the next most common accident types differed substantially for lower-versus higher-speed derailments. Thus, the speed of the train at the time of derailment played a role in the cause of the incident. These details are not presently known about this morning's Naperville Metra derailment.
If you have been injured in an incident involving a train or on board a train, please call our injury attorneys today at 312-327-1840.