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14 commuters hurt when train hits post in Chicago

CHICAGO (AP) - Fourteen passengers were injured Monday when a commuter train hit a "bumping post" at a downtown Chicago station, the second such accident of the day, rail officials said.

It was not immediately clear whether the train slid or if there was a mechanical or braking problem, but all trains were subsequently ordered to enter downtown stations at "walking speed" to prevent further incidents, said Michael Gillis, spokesman for the Metra commuter rail agency.

The accident happened about 8:45 a.m. as the Rock Island District line train from Joliet reached the end of the platform at the LaSalle Street station with 175 passengers aboard. Six passengers were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, and the others refused treatment, he said.

Another train hit a bumping post around 6:15 a.m. No passengers were injured in that incident, but the train and post were damaged, officials said.

Gillis said the agency is still investigating what caused the incidents.

"Obviously we're looking to see if weather played a role," he said.

Temperatures in Chicago were around 15 below zero, with wind chills as low as minus 40.

Court reporter Kathy Marthaler of Mokena, Ill., was on the earlier train.

"It was like a big boom and a good jolt," said Marthaler, who said standing passengers scrambled to stay upright. She walked about six blocks through below-zero weather to the courthouse, only to learn that the trial had been canceled.

"I risked my life on the train, then I risked it again in the cold," she joked, as she waited at the station to take a train back home.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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