The Chicago Transit Authority says a Commonwealth Edison power outage is affecting service on all ‘L’ lines at the Howard Street station.

Major delays are reported on the Red and Purple lines and service has been suspended on the Yellow Line.

The power outage is forcing crews to manually operate switches at the station.

No word yet on when normal operations may be restored.

Update 6:50 p.m.: What the CTA describes as a minor derailment at Howard has now forced a suspension of service on the Purple Line. Travelers are being directed to use the Route 201 or 205 buses instead.

Update 7:50 a.m. 2/8/14: Service on the Purple and Yellow lines was restored by early this morning and the lines reportedly are operating normally at this hour.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. The passengers on the train

    The passengers on the train at Howard are all jammed into one car and are getting cold. 

  2. South Blvd?

    Is this why traffic was backed up on Chicago Ave, and emergency vehicles gathered around South Blvd at around 6:45/7pm this evening?  Are more details available?

    1. South Blvd.

      Yes, the emergency vehicle action around the South Boulevard station was related to the derailment at Howard. Don't have confirmation of details beyond that.

      — Bill

  3. amazed at the lack of news coverage and held against our will

    It seems Bill you may be the only news outlet to make any mention of the CTA fiasco of last night.  I found nothing mentioned in today's Tribune.  I was on one of the trains trying to get to to Howard last night.  My 3 hour journey started at the Merchandise Mart, where i first learned there was a problem with Purple Line trains, but no other specifics.  I boarded a Brown Line train until Belmont, when I switched to a Red Line train.  Train operations for Brown and Red line trains seemed normal (all things considered) up to about Bryn Mawr.  The delays began there.  

    The problem with the CTA's Public Relations script is that employees are apparently told to keep riders in the dark.  They mislead riders.  They play the useless and generic recorded messages.  They "apologize" for the delays.  They repeatedly tell you every few minutes, "we will be moving in a few minutes".  But seemingly never move.  It all adds up to buying time and effectively lying to the coustomer.

    When events like last nights fiasco occur, the CTA appears to have absolutely no prepared plan, and no staff qualified to address the problem on the ground in real time.  No one person takes control of the system to make it as painless a situation as possible.  Rather it comes across as a comedy of errors and the keystone cops; a performance one sees in a circus.

    Riders on last nights Red Line trains trying to get to Howard Street, were held for hours against their will, on the trains.  There was no mention of bus service being offered as an alternative.  The last stretch of the ride (2 1/2 Hours Later), between Jarvis and Howard was the most frustrating.  Passengers can see the Howard Street station.  They can see that there are empty places along the platforms (no trains blocking our path).  Yet the conductor keeps saying "I can't go because the light is red"; over and over "I can't go because the light is red".  We were probably 100 feet away and the train would not move into the station.  Riders wanted to walk to the station.  Everyone wanted to walk, but we were not permitted to do so.

    Finally, nearly 3 hours to the minute from the start of my journey, the train inched closer to the platform.  The first two cars were into the station when it stopped again.  A young man clearly frustrated and late to meet a relative, pulled the door open switch above the doors, and pulled the door open.  The train was at a stop.  This young man was "PUSHED" back into the car by CTA employees standing on the platform.  The doors were pulled closed.  The train began to move again, stop again, move again, stop again, over and over at least a dozen times just a few feet at a time, before the ordeal ended when all of the cars were in the station.  That young man could have been allowed to leave the train, but rather the CTA forced him physically back into the train car.

    Oddly, when the doors finally opened, there was not even one CTA employee on the platform anywhere to be seen.  They disappeared.

    We finally learned that there was some level of derailment, and I can appreciate the CTA being on the defensive.  There is no excuse however, to treating their customers on the trains the way they did.

    Please try to tell the whole story Bill.  Obviously you are the only one covering the story.

    Also, please post the contact information for the CTA liason to Evanston.  I have a few things to say to that person.


    1. CTA snarls

      Hi Mike,

      Sorry you were among those trapped on the trains. Always happy to get a call from people who can provide first-hand info on an event when it's happening. If you are in the midst of a story again and have a cell phone, feel free to call 847-733-7526.

      Some other news organizations were covering the story.

      I saw coverage on the Chicago Tribune website, which also had content from WGN-TV, and on Channel 7. There was also some limited info on the CTA website.

      The City of Evanston intergovernmental affairs coordinator is Ylda Capriccioso, phone 847.448.8032, email ycapriccioso@cityofevanston.org.

      — Bill

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