CHICAGO (CBS)-- Red, Brown, and Purple Line service was halted for hours during the morning rush on Thursday, after a signal apparently fell on the tracks, causing a power outage, and leading to major delays for commuters before normal service was restored.
The disruption began around 6:30 a.m., and as of mid-afternoon, CTA officials still had not said what caused the power outage that halted Brown, Red, and Purple Line service near Belmont. But Chicago Police and the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications have said a traffic signal fell on the tracks.
The delays caused a lot of people to have a rough morning, as Red Line, Brown Line, and Purple Line Express trains were stopped at Belmont.
Brown Line service was temporarily suspended between Southport and Armitage. The CTA said Brown Line trains began running again around 8:45 a.m.
Red Line service began was temporarily halted between Wilson and Fullerton, but began returning to normal around 11:40 a.m.
Purple Line Express trains were suspended during the morning rush, but Purple Line Local trains between Howard and Linden were not affected.
Devin Jarell started his morning early, hopping on the Red Line at Wilson around 6 a.m. to head to class at Kendall College, but he didn't make it to class on Thursday, because he was stuck on a stalled train for at least an hour before Chicago firefighters came to evacuate the train, and escort passengers along the tracks to the nearest station after the CTA shut off power to the tracks.
"A little hectic.. I would just say, for the most part, it was just very inconvenient," he said.
With firefighters as their escorts, Jarell and his fellow passengers walked along the platform between the elevated tracks to get to the nearest station and find another way to get to their destinations.
The longtime Upton resident was just one of countless commuters who saw their morning trek not only snarled, but halted entirely.
Jarell said he hopes video proof of his hectic, unexpected, and mostly inconvenient morning will serve as a kind of doctor's note for missing class.
"I made an attempt for my teacher, for my instructor, 'If you see this, this is my excuse I did not make it to class,'" he said.
Another passenger, Courtney, had been stuck on a Red Line train before it was evacuated, but she said she and others on the train were worried about a passenger in a wheelchair, who was unable to evacuate along the catwalk with the rest of the passengers.
The passengers were also worried about getting to work on time, and not being penalized if they were late.
While Brown, Red, and Purple Line trains were halted, shuttle buses took hordes of commuters from Belmont to stops where trains were running.
Those trying to get to work found their commute times had doubled.
Riders who opted for Uber or Lyft ran into huge price increases, with some people paying $50 to $80 to get from Lakeview to downtown.
There was some good news Thursday afternoon from Uber, which said it is going to refund riders for the extra surge money they paid.
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