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November 4, 2009

Stroller Caught in Train Door in Chicago: Could it happen on MetroLink?

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A Chicago mother was faced with a horrific scare yesterday evening: her child’s stroller get caught in the doors of one of the CTA trains and was dragged 75 feet before the child fell 10 feet to a gravel bed below.  Thankfully for all involved, the little girl survived with no serious injuries.  But it’s still a nightmarish thought – getting caught in a moving train door.  It would be a traumatic experience for all involved.  Therefore here in St. Louis we have several layers of safety measures in place to help prevent these kind of incidents with MetroLink doors:

  1. First, MetroLink operators have rearview mirrors to check before and while they press the door closed button.  You might have seen this in action if the door has ever opened to let one more rushed customer inside.
  2. MetroLink doors have an electromechanical lock on them that prevents the train from moving unless they are closed properly.
  3. Once passengers are inside, the leaving station protocol for operators are:    1) Check mirrors for passengers on the platform; 2) Make the announcement, “Please stand clear, the doors are closing”; 3) Close the doors if they are clear of passengers
  4. If a door is not functioning properly on MetroLink, there are usually red indicator lights above the defective door that illuminate.
  5. The operator can “cut out” a door (take a door out of service) that is not working by flipping a circuit breaker.  The door is then inactive.

In addition, Metro is about to begin testing station barriers that protect strollers, the visually impaired, children, etc. from falling in between cars.  They are installed in the section of the platform between train dockings, and are traversable in case of emergency.  Do they seem like they would be useful in protecting the public?

Luckily, no one was injured in this Chicago incident, but it is important for us riders to remember our safety too.  It’s best not to run on the platform, best to take it easy boarding the train.  Safety precautions work most efficiently when both rider and Agency work together to prevent incidents.

We hope for a quick recovery for little Rachel and her family in Chicago.

Metro Lifestyle

3 thoughts on “Stroller Caught in Train Door in Chicago: Could it happen on MetroLink?”

  1. NN says:

    I am very much impressed by metro’s safety regulations. However, policies have to be put in place such that no passengers can walk in front of the train either while boarding or getting off. They should have pedestrian crossings behind the train and not in front of the train.

  2. Jeff says:

    Actually, having them in front makes more sense to me, where the driver can see the people coming and going. In back, well I understand what you are saying, but the visibility in front is great.

    Overall, wouldn’t it be better to be like most platform based systems, and have no pedestrian crossings in general?

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