CHICAGO - Malfunction Causes Pole Fire, Minor Train Delays : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Title: Pole fire delays trains Electrical equipment catches fire, causes minor delays.


March 21, 2000

BY DAN SCHNOLIS Times Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- A fire atop a wooden pole Monday afternoon in the city's Hegewisch neighborhood caused some South Shore commuter trains to be delayed or canceled.

A lightning arrestor on the pole failed, causing it to catch fire, according to John Parsons, a spokesman for the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.

Lightning arrestors take surges of power in the railroad's electrical system and ground the electricity to prevent damage to electrical components.

The incident occurred right next to the railroad's Hegewisch substation near 136th Street and Brainard Avenue.

During a malfunction Monday, the arrestor short circuited and caught fire just as crews were inspecting it, Parsons said.

The burning pole was holding up the overhead centenary wires that supply passing trains with power, along with some other wires and electrical hardware at the time of the fire.

Because of the safety risk, officials shut down power for over an hour causing delays for three inbound trains, and two outbound trains, as well as canceling two other trains, Parsons said.

Those trains running between the Hegewisch station and East Chicago, were pulled by diesel locomotives until the power was restored.

Firefighters from Chicago Fire Dept. Engine Company 97 were summoned to the scene to douse the fire, and brought it under control within 15 minutes, according to Fire Capt. Kevin Ryan.

Railroad repair crews immediately replaced the burned portion of the pole, allowing trains to function at their regular intervals before 2 p.m., railroad officials said.


-- (, March 21, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ