Chicago CTA changes scheduling rules after O’Hare crash

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is changing its scheduling rules for subway drivers after a recent derailment at O’Hare International Airport, the agency announced Friday.

A train on Chicago’s “L” derailed at the O’Hare Airport on March 24 in an early morning accident that has been attributed to driver fatigue. The train left the tracks and ended up halfway up an escalator that leads to the airport terminal. 

The CTA said Friday that it was capping the number of hours its operators could be driving trains at 12 hours in a 14-hour period and requiring that they get at least 10 hours between shifts.

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Previously, there was no limit on the number of hours Chicago train drives could be operating trains and train engineers were only required to be given eight hours off between shifts.

Investigators have suggested that the operator of the train that crashed at O’Hare “dozed off” as the train was approaching the airport station. The operator in question was fired Friday by the CTA, according to reports from several Chicago media outlets. 

The March 24 accident occurred early in the morning, which investigators have said likely reduced the amount of injuries that were sustained in the incident.

More than 30 passengers were injured when the train left the tracks at O’Hare, which is the second-busiest airport in the United States.

The Chicago transit system’s nickname "L" is a reference to the fact that most of its downtown tracks are elevated, but the station at O'Hare is located underground.

The Chicago "L" subway is the third busiest public transit system in the U.S. with an average of weekday ridership of 734,900, according to the American Public Transportation Association. The Chicago subway is only surpassed by the New York City subway and Washington, D.C.'s Metrorail in U.S. transit ridership.