Tag Archives: train


On May 16, 2017, Michael Case was working as a conductor on an Amtrak train pulling into the station in Naperville, Illinois. Aboard the train was Edward Klein, 79, who was returning home from a canceled trip to Las Vegas..

Case knew that Klein needed to get to Chicago to catch a train to Milwaukee to get to his home in West Allis, Wisconsin. He was aware of a plan to escort Klein at Union Station to get him safely home to Wisconsin.

When the train pulled into the station in Naperville, Case got off the train to help other riders with their baggage. Klein was acting agitated and disoriented so Case closed and locked the train doors to keep Klein on the train. Case later explained his decision to keep Klein on the train, “I didn’t feel like it was a safe place for him to get off at Naperville station with all those tracks there.”

Minutes later, Klein reached out an open window and shot Case with a .38 caliber revolver. Case, who was struck in the abdomen, was able to crawl behind a partition to safety. He was taken to Edward Hospital in Naperville in critical condition and underwent multiple surgeries during the next six weeks. He was released from the hospital ten weeks after the shooting.

During his hospitalization, Case’s wife stayed at the hospital almost twenty-four hours a day. She was his support, his anchor, through it all. Case said, “I remember her sorting me out real quick, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this. I got you.’ And she did.”

Klein was charged with attempted first-degree murder, and was ordered held on $1.5 million bail. His attorney said that Klein was mentally unfit to stand trial.

According to https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20180105/dupage-judge-wisconsin-man-had-intent-to-kill-amtrak-conductor, “A DuPage County judge ruled Friday that Edward Klein knew he was doing wrong and intended to kill an Amtrak conductor he shot last May in Naperville. Using a complicated legal term, Judge Jeffrey MacKay ruled Klein was “not not guilty” and “not acquitted” of the multiple charges against him, despite being found unfit to stand trial. Doctors have diagnosed Klein with an impaired cognitive disorder and dementia and said he suffers from a major neuro-cognitive disorder.” He faces confinement in a mental health facility.

If you have a family member who has suffered a serious injury and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski



It was a Friday afternoon, February 4, 1977, just a little after 5:20 P.M. Office workers in Chicago’s central business district called “The Loop” were headed home. Many rode the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) elevated trains: the Ravenswood, the Lake—Dan Ryan, and the Evanston Express.

The elevated tracks formed a rectangular pattern above Lake Street, Wabash Avenue, Van Buren Street, and Wells Street. In 1977, three lines operated on the Loop. Each line operated in a different direction. Wikipedia, “1977 Chicago Loop derailment,” describes the situation: “The Ravenswood Line operated counter-clockwise around the loop, while the Evanston Express operated clockwise opposite from the Ravenswood trains. The Lake—Dan Ryan Line operated in both directions, but only used the Lake and Wabash legs of the Loop.”

On this day, a switching issue forced dispatchers to reroute the Evanston Express to run counter-clockwise around the Loop instead of its normal clockwise route. This put the Evanston Express on the tracks normally used by the Ravenswood and westbound Lake—Dan Ryan. The Ravenswood train would have to stop short and wait for the Evanston Express to clear the tracks before it could proceed. Likewise, the Lake—Dan Ryan would have to stop and wait for the Ravenswood to clear the track before it could proceed.

At approximately 5:25 P.M., a Ravenswood train was stopped on the tracks, just past the northeast turn, waiting for the Evanston Express to clear the State/Lake platform. The Lake—Dan Ryan approached the Ravenswood train, but it neglected to stop. Instead, ignoring both track and cab signals, it proceeded and bumped into the Ravenswood train.

What happened next could have been a scene from a horror movie. After the initial impact, the operator of the Lake—Dan Ryan train continued to apply traction power. Therefore, the rear cars of the Lake—Dan Ryan train continued to push forward. That pinned the front of the train against the waiting Ravenswood on the right-angle turn of the track. The pressure from behind caused the coupling bar between the first two cars to bend. The coupled ends of these first two cars were pushed up into the air. Then the third car was forced upwards until the three train cars jackknifed and fell off the tracks. The first train car fell onto a track support structure. The second and third cars fell all the way to the street below. The fourth car dangled between the track and street. The last four cars remained on the tracks, still in the Randolph/Wabash station.

Eleven people were killed, and more than one hundred and sixty were injured. The cause of the crash was determined to be operator error.

—By Karen Centowski

To see the video “El Crash Chicago 1977 (ABC News Special Report)—You Tube,” go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1lcl_LOThw.


It was a typical Saturday on the Amtrak train heading from Kansas City to Chicago. Michael Case, 46, of Homewood was the conductor. The date was May 19, 2017.

One older male passenger seemed “discombobulated,” Case later reported. The passenger, Edward Klein, had tried to enter private sleeping quarters and asked where he could find the library.

When the train made a scheduled stop at the Fourth Avenue Metra Railway station north of downtown Naperville, Case said he tried to help Klein by keeping him from getting off. He knew that Klein was bound for Milwaukee via Chicago. The conductor said he then got off the train and unloaded some baggage.

When Case returned to the train compartment door, he said he saw Klein standing inside, holding a snub-nosed revolver and wearing “a look of anger.” Klein, a retired federal law enforcement officer, fired once, striking Case in the torso.

The Chicago Tribune article “Train conductor shot at Naperville station” describes how Case turned and ran a short distance. Onlookers “wrestled Klein to the ground and kept him immobile until police arrived. Naperville police officer Anthony Cimilucca, who took Klein into custody and recovered the revolver from his pants pocket, testified that Klein said he was angry because he was prevented from leaving the train.”

The Chicago Tribune article reported that a hearing was scheduled “to determine whether to acquit Klein or find that prosecutors have sufficient evidence to prove his guilt.” Klein could face involuntary commitment in a mental facility. Because of his mental state, Klein would not face a prison sentence.

Klein, who is eighty years old, has since been declared unfit to stand trial on charges that include attempted murder. Authorities say that Klein “exhibits dementialike symptoms and is not likely to regain mental fitness.”

Case was hospitalized for two months and had a third surgery planned for January. David Piazza, the medical director for trauma surgery at Edward Hospital, has said that “Michael Case is in serious condition, and expected to require hospitalization and treatment for another six to nine months.” According to his wife, Sara, Michael Case remains anxious to get back on the job at Amtrak. “Our goal on the medical staff is (that) he will return to work,” Piazza said.

When an individual is recovering from a serious injury, he may be able to return home with round-the-clock private duty nursing. American Home Health offers private duty nursing for adults in Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission.

For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—by Karen Centowski



At 6:30 p.m. on June 30, 2017, twenty oil tanker cars belonging to Canadian National Railway derailed near to the downtown in Plainfield, Illinois, forty miles southwest of Chicago. The cars piled up against each other, accordion style. Four of the tanker cars leaked, and 45,000 gallons of crude oil spilled. Much of the crude oil flowed into trenches along the railroad. Fortunately, none of the oil reached the DuPage River. None of the oil caught fire.

Moving crude oil by rail has been controversial. Shipments from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota peaked at 498,271 in 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads. At that time, many oil tanker cars being used to transport the oil from North Dakota to refineries on the East Coast were older with fewer safety features. In 2015, twenty-one tanker cars on a Burlington-Northern Santa Fe train derailed just south of Galena, Illinois. Several of them ruptured, split open, and blew up. The 105-car train was headed to Chicago at the time of the accident.

According to the March 6, 2015 ABC -7 Chicago news report at http://abc-7chicago.com, “New information from federal authorities is that that 25 million Americans live within the 1-mile evacuation zone that straddles tracks used by crude oil lines. Dozens of the tanker trains crisscross metro Chicago each week.”

In December of 2015, President Obama signed a transportation law called the FAST Act. The law requires that the new cars must have thicker steel shells, insulating materials, full-size metal shields at each end, and improved outlet valves underneath the car.

The new rules create a new standard, “high-hazard, flammable trains.” These are defined as “a continuous block of twenty or more tank cars loaded with flammable liquid or 35 or more tank cars loaded with a flammable liquid dispersed through-out a train.” Tanker cars carrying petroleum crude oil are marked with a DOT placard with a hazmat symbol and the number 1267.

According to http://www.chicagotribune.com, “Seventy percent of the oil being fracked out of those booming fields in North Dakota’s Bakken region is shipped via what the oil industry calls a ‘rolling pipeline’ of railroad trains.” Despite the obvious problems of transporting oil by rail, the Association of American Railroads has pointed out that railroads have an excellent safety record with crude oil, even surpassing pipelines in recent years.

—By Karen Centowski

To see a video about the oil tanker train, go to Freight Train Carrying Crude Oil Derails in Suburban Plainfield You Tube.