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(Chicago) Horror and heroism in the holiday rush

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Horror and heroism in the holiday rush

By Joseph Ryan and Ed Fanselow

Daily Herald Staff Writers

Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Metra rush hour express train plowed into five cars Wednesday in Elmwood Park, throwing them into 10 other cars, pinning passengers in hulks of twisted, sometimes-fiery metal and injuring 16.

The Thanksgiving-eve crash created a dizzying scene of flames, smoke and screaming passengers on a railroad intersection just west of Chicago long known by locals for close calls and accidents. The disaster also brought out the hero inside some startled witnesses. 

No one was killed in the wreck, officials say, but three were in critical condition at area hospitals late Wednesday.  The accident trapped thousands of commuters at Union Station for hours and caused a backup of trains along the line.

Three of the 16 people injured were on the Metra train, Metra spokeswoman Judy Pardonnet said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by federal agencies. But emergency personnel say the drivers first hit by the train, which was potentially going 70 mph, were apparently trying to make it across the exceptionally long intersection when the gates came down around them.

The six-car Metra train, loaded with as many as 500 passengers, was heading on an express schedule to Antioch on the North Central line, pulling out of Union Station at 4:25 p.m.

About 20 minutes later, a 30-year veteran engineer saw vehicles heading east lined on the tracks in front of him, said Pardonnet. The engineer tried to stop, but couldn

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yeah that is right there at the city limits I used to live two block south on Harlem on the corner in that four flat, the line goes in and out (or east and west)  on the south side of Grand is that right or has it changed that much in 30 years since I have lived there and btw that was all ways dangerous

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