Chicago, IL Commuter Train Wreck, Oct 1972 - 39 Dead, 200 Hurt
TRAIN COLLISION KILLS 39.
OVER 200 ARE HURT IN CHICAGO.
Chicago (AP) -- Thirty-nine people were killed and more than 200 injured Monday when an electric commuter train that was trying to back up after apparently overshooting a station was rammed from behind by another during the morning rush hour authorities said.
Hospitals said some of the injured were in serious condition.
It was the worst railroad accident in the United States in nearly 22 years.
As the toll of dead mounted, firemen worked to free passengers from the twisted wreckage. Their screams were heard above the noises of torches and wrecking bars.
The crash occurred on a flat stretch of land near the 27th street platform of the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, which transports about 35,000 commuters daily between the city and suburbs to the south. One of the trains had four cars; the other six.
Nine Minutes Apart.
The two commuter trains, which had left about nine minutes apart from a far south side terminal, were less than 10 minutes from the downtown station when the crash occurred about 7:40 a.m.
H. G. MULLINS, superintendent for (unreadable words) said the lead train apparently ran past the station platform and was attempting to back up when the second train struck it.
The National Transportation Safety Board in Washington sent specialists to investigate on the basis of reports that the location of the crash was protected by automatic signals.
DONNA POSEY, an injured passenger in the first car of the second train, said a crewman shouted a warning about 20 seconds before the wreck.
"Everybody got up and just as we got up, we hit. Everybody screamed and there was a pile-up of people," she said.
Three hours after the crash, at least 10 persons were trapped inside one of the train cars officials said.
A doctor at the scene from nearby Michael Reese hospital reported several of those killed were cut in half by the impact.
The lead train carried four new double-decker cars with each cars capacity about 155 persons, a railroad spokesman said. The rear train carried older cars, each having a capacity of about 85 persons.
The spokesman said the cars were filled because of the rush hour.
BARBARA KUKULSKI, a passenger in the lead car, said the rear double-decker car, "just collapsed like tinfoil" at impact. "There was blood all over the place."
A call for blood went out to the Chicago area to help treat the injured.
Hospitals reporting deaths were Mercy, Michael Reese, Cook County and Billings.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette Iowa 1972-10-30