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Power restored on CTA Brown Line train after evacuation downtown

Hundreds of passengers get stuck on a CTA train during power outage
Hundreds of passengers get stuck on a CTA train during power outage 02:35

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Passengers were safe Tuesday night, but some 'L' riders were stranded on a Brown Line train on the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River for hours – and had to be evacuated.

As of Tuesday night, power has been restored on the Brown Line. 

It all happened during a busy afternoon rush hour, and five hours later, Brown Line service still was not back to normal.

Brown Line service ran for hours only between the Armitage stop in Lincoln Park and the Kimball terminal in Albany Park. Just before 10 p.m., the train that had to be evacuated finally left the spot over the Wells Street Bridge where it had been stuck – as power resumed.

As CBS 2's Sara Machi reported, the CTA says a power outage halted 'L' trains on the Brown and Purple lines in the Loop.

The Purple Line was also completely suspended south of the Howard Terminal for much of the afternoon rush. The line – which primarily serves Evanston - does not run south of Howard during off-peak periods.

The Red Line was advised as an alternative, and was packed during the afternoon rush.

Meanwhile, some riders on that Brown Line train that got stuck said they thought more than just a power problem was to blame.

CTA evacuates Brown Line train amid power outage 01:45

"I feel like we should get a check for this - but that's just my opinion, you know," said Louis Foster.

Foster was one of the many CTA riders who got trapped on that Brown Line train Tuesday afternoon. Many riders said they noticed early something might be wrong.

"We recalled hearing a 'pop' a little bit," a woman said.

"I take this train - and when it did that curve, I knew something wasn't right," a man added. "I know how it curves, and this was almost tilting."

"There were some sparks," said rider Kyle McComb. "The train jolted a little bit, and then it ground to a halt."

The CTA says it was all the result of a power outage. Passengers were visible inside the train as it was stuck on the Wells Street Bridge.

Riders said CTA employees announced updates every 10 minutes - but the minutes turned to hours.

For many, it was an inconvenience.

"I got off work early and I – ugh," said Melissa Wriggle. "It's just a day."

But for at least one rider, there was an opportunity.

"I do have a final due in a couple of hours, so I was able to get it done on the train," a woman said, "and I just hope that my professor understands that it was a little bit of a weird circumstance."

Evacuations began at 5:53 p.m. Firefighters and CTA employees helped riders off the train, single-file down the catwalk.

"There's a couple of people scared of heights up there," Wriggle said. "They were kind of getting really nervous."

Some riders tell us they crossed the entire width of the river. All of them eventually crossed a covered third rail to get to safety.

"Usually, the Brown Line is my favorite line to take home," a woman said. "I don't know about that anymore."

No one on the train was injured.

CHECK: CTA Updates

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