UPDATE: Metra BNSF Trains Back in Service but Delays Continue

Metra traffic into and out of Chicago has resumed this evening after an alert was put on metra's website earlier saying rush-hour trains were canceled.

Updated 5:03 p.m.

The after a fallen crane in Westmont halted service for about four-and-a-half hours Wednesday afternoon. 

"Service has resumed, however, we anticipate that there will be some delays throughout the remainder of the evening. ... We are encouraging passengers to come to (Chicago Union Station) as service has resumed and trains are running. Please note that service will not run at a normal schedule," Metra said in an alert on its website.

The boom of the crane was removed from the tracks at around 4:15 p.m. Trains began rolling past at about 4:42 p.m., while the base of the crane, a truck that had been on its side all afternoon, was still tipped over just to the north of the tracks. 

4:09 p.m.

Rush hour is fast approaching and the crane is still across the tracks. Sparks have been flying as crews have been using saws to detach it from the truck it's based on. The truck is still flipped on its side along Burlington Avenue. 

Metra has put an advisory message up on its website saying that no rush-hour trains will run this evening, into our out of Union Station in Chicago. 

"At this time, we cannot estimate when normal service will resume. We do not expect BNSF trains to operate during rush hour," the advisory reads. "We are recommending passengers consider alternate travel options. Some passengers may be able to take the Union Pacific West line and others should consider alternate forms of transportation."

3:00 p.m.

The crane is still laying across the BNSF tracks just west of Cass Avenue in Westmont. A second crane has been brought in and workers are hooking it up to the fallen-over crane, seemingly to raise it up off the tracks. 

Still no train traffic at this point. 

1:42 p.m.

Metra has released an advisory mesage regarding the crane incident on its website.

"Inbound and outbound trains will not operate past Westmont at this time due to a track obstruction which is blocking all three tracks," the alert reads. "The duration of this delay may be extensive. Metra will update this site as information becomes available."

1:33 p.m.

The steel signal bridge that was laying across the tracks when the crane first fell has been removed, but the crane itself remains spread across the tracks.

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Westmont resident Tom Chatton saw the entire episode happen from right across the street. He was trimming bushes at his parents' house on Burlington Avenue when the crane fell.

Chatton said the crane successfully lifted the signal bridge to where it would be drilled into the vertical support, when he heard one of the crew members shout.

"All of a sudden it took off and just fell," he said. "It was like, to me, watching a disaster happen."

1:08 p.m.

All Metra traffic on the BNSF railway has been halted in the western suburbs after a crane fell onto the tracks just west of Cass Avenue in Westmont before noon Wednesday.

A moveable crane north of the tracks being used by BNSF to erect a new signal bridge over the tracks fell over around 11:51 a.m., according to Westmont Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Connolly.

Connolly said the incident occurred while the crane was lifting up the large, steel bridge. There were crew members on the crane at the time, but nobody was hurt.

"The crane tipped over; the personnel jumped clear; nobody was injured," Connolly said.

All three tracks are closed and are expected to remain closed for at least the next two hours, Connolly said, as a new crane is brought in to remove the steel bridge. 

Stay with Patch for updates.

DG Guy August 15, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Patch: This is something worthy of an email alert.
Lauren Williamson (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 07:38 PM
DG Guy: Double check your spam box. An email alert went out at 1:15 p.m. Best, Lauren Williamson Associate Regional Editor
Martin August 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I got an alert at 1:15....
Jacob Metzger August 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
BNSF freight traffic just rolled by milepost 15.4 in Western Springs, Doing about 40 miles an hour
Jacob Metzger August 15, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Metra traffic at MP 15.4 Western Springs
Will Sperling August 15, 2012 at 09:45 PM
The crane didn't fall onto the tracks; the boom of the crane, and the entire signal bridge were on the tracks. No one was injured, but it took several hours to remove everything from the tracks. Then, it will take even longer while track integrity is assured after thorough inspection. If not, part(s) of the rail(s) may need to be replaced. This could take a long time, and further disruption of the BNSF / Metra / Amtrak service.
Jacob Metzger August 15, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Will, Metra and BNSF traffic is rolling by on Main 1 and 2 , Nothing on main 3, The entire signal bridge was not on the tracks, The cantalliver was on the tracks... Heavy airhorns through Western Springs right now, I would belive that trains are ready to go
Jacob Metzger August 15, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Amtraks are now rolling through Western Springs, I would think the mess is cleaned up
Joe O'Donnell (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The boom of the crane is off the tracks and the truck where the crane was based is being put back upright. Trains are moving again and despite Metra's initial statement that rush-hour trains would be canceled, service has resumed.
Tony Cesare August 15, 2012 at 11:11 PM
I panicked and took a cab from state and La Salle, Metra indicated at 4:30 that rush hour trains would not run. That stinks.
Joe O'Donnell (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Sounds awful, Tony. I was shocked at how quickly they changed up the status.
Jacob Metzger August 16, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Never trust the railroad, I have had experience that, They said a certain station would be open on a certain date for a maintenence headquartars center, And it was locked. lol
Erik Bloecks August 16, 2012 at 12:42 AM
here is a tip for next time for La Grange residents . Go the Ogelvie station, Take the Unoin Pacific line to Bellwood then hop on the 330 (i think) Pace Bus going south to get back to La Grange.


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