Blue Line Inbound Service Stops: Crowds at Damen Wait for Shuttles

The Blue Line had some serious, serious issues today. Apparently, a train near Clark/Lake had some problems and wasn’t moving. And I guess some folks on that train pulled the emergency lever, opened the doors, and started walking down the track to the platform.

As a result, they had to shut down the power (to avoid electrocuting people), and well… that led to all Blue Line Inbound service being stopped. Not delayed – out and out stopped.

On the train this morning, Liz and I were stuck for a good 10-15 minutes near Western. And then we were stuck a while at the Damen stop. And then, we all pretty much got booted off the train at Damen.

Big crowd of folks, making their way off the train at Damen. The conductor told everyone to get out, as the train would be moving backwards, to try to allow other trains to unload passengers.

Walking around outside, trying to figure out what to do next. Liz suggested we head farther up on North Ave, to try to catch the bus before the crowds.

Sidenote: I was being a Negative Nelly and felt convinced all the buses would pull in filled to the brim. Chris and I were talking via our cellphones, and he was stuck aboveground at the Logan Square stop. He had tried to get on the Milwaukee bus there, but every bus heading down was already packed by the time it got there. For the record, I was being all negative, and not really offering up any good alternatives – just shooting stuff down. Sorry, hon.

Turns out, Liz was right and I was wrong; we got on a bus soon after. In fact, I found out that Jane was stuck nearby and was also at the trisection waiting for the shuttles. She walked over to our area, and hopped on board a bus with us.

I’m not 100% on what happened with our bus. I think it may have originally been a North Ave bus, but then as it got closer to the trisection… it got commandeered. A few folks who were originally on the bus got off, after finding out that we were going to be headed downtown.

Weirdly though? As we went by the trisection, we didn’t pick up any of the thronged masses, waiting for a ride.

Looking out the bus window at the crowds gathered at the trisection. What a nightmare. Allison’s place is near the trisection, and she had a pretty great story about her experience this morning. Out of everyone in Chicago affected by the Blue Line being down… I think Allison had by far the absolute best commute experience.

Our bus was instructed to go down 4 blocks, and not pick up any passengers. I’m still unsure what our driver got those directions. At several bus stops… we passed by boatloads of people, waiting for a bus to pick them up. And we blew off each and every one of them.

We’d drive by, and people would get excited… and then throw their arms up in anger, watching a barely-filled bus pass on by. At one point, there were two older women who had walked up to the bus at a stoplight and were actually pulling on the side doors, trying to get in.

I figure there’s some good logistics-related reason why the driver had to continue on X blocks, before picking up anyone. I’m just curious to know what that reason is, as it seemed like we could have helped out a little bit more than we did. The bus was maybe 40% full, with seats still available… so I’m not sure why we couldn’t have picked up a few more passengers.

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  1. It was fun wasn’t it!I walked down Milwaukee to Ashland and grabbed that bus headed south. Worked out ok. Certainly better than waiting with 2,000 people for shuttles at the Trisection.

    Liam Strain Reply

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