Commuter train in Chicago overshoots stop, takes the stairs

Toronto Star
Screen capture Toronto star

30 people were injured, none seriously, when a train went through a stop, jumped the track and climbed the stairs at O'Hare International Airport. According to Associated Press, it was a lucky thing that it happened in the middle of the night.

An enormous disaster was avoided thanks to the timing of the crash at 02:50 a.m. The bustling station is usually packed with travellers making their way to or from Chicago from the major airport, and a Chicago Transit Authority official said the crash happened at a traditionally quiet time.

According to Google, there are 7,160 news stories around the world covering this event. There is no question that it is an incredible photograph of the train climbing the stairs, but it's one of those times to remember how safe trains really are.

There are 117 people killed by cars in the USA every day, one every 13 minutes. According to WHO,"More than 270,000 pedestrians lose their lives on the world’s roads each year accounting for 22% of the total 1.24 million road traffic deaths." Last summer, when a train crashed in Spain, the story was used by Fox News as a way of bashing high speed rail. But as was pointed out in Media Matters, crashes typically don't get the type of headline coverage that the Spanish train crash is receiving. As the President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety told The New York Times in 2010, motor vehicle fatalities "happen in small numbers, are geographically dispersed and aren't considered headline-grabbing news."

Indeed, the photo of the train climbing the escalator is not quite as dramatic as this one from 1895 at The Gare Montparnasse in Paris, and one person was killed by falling masonry here, but it still merits an Wikipedia page.

Commuter train in Chicago overshoots stop, takes the stairs
But this shouldn't scare people away from the trains, they are still the safest way to travel.

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