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2 weeks after crash, still unclear when Yellow Line service to resume on Chicago's North Side

2 weeks after crash, still unclear when Yellow Line service to resume on Chicago's North Side
2 weeks after crash, still unclear when Yellow Line service to resume on Chicago's North Side 02:51

CHICAGO (CBS) – It's been two weeks with no CTA Yellow Line trains running, with service still suspended after a train hit snow removal equipment, injuring 38 people.

It was originally thought service would be restored within days of the incident, but trains were still not running this week. CBS 2's Tara Molina looked into what was going on.

About 1,500 people rely on the Yellow Line every day, according to the CTA. But when will those people be back on a train car?

Two weeks later, there was still no clear answer.

Shuttle buses have been running in place of the Yellow Line trains from the Howard Station to Skokie exactly two weeks after the crash. The free service was designed to mirror the rail service with similar trip times.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Jennifer Homendy said then that they couldn't give an exact date but hoped to see the line back in service within days of the crash.

"We are hoping it is within the five days, less than that," Homendy said.

But it's been two weeks, so what's happening now?

CBS 2 asked the CTA several questions on Thursday, but the agency deferred to the NTSB and said, "As such, the CTA is currently unable to discuss the specifics of the ongoing investigation." But in a recent update, the CTA said it was testing trains to ensure safety, something that takes time to perform and review.

Chopper 2 captured video of the train yard on Thursday. The CTA wouldn't say if the activity was part of the testing.

The NTSB said the crash may have been the result of a design problem preventing the train from stopping with the braking system about 1,000 feet shorter than needed for the newer and heavier trains.

An NTSB spokesperson said, "We don't have any update information to share at this time. The preliminary report could be available as early as next week."

"The final report takes many months to come before they can release the final findings of any investigation," said P.S. Sriraj, the director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sriraj said he's not surprised the line is still out of service.

"You have to give the latitude to CTA to make sure they feel comfortable having the service being resumed as opposed to sticking to some arbitrary five-day or 10-day mark," he said.

Sriraj added, "If it takes another month, I would be very surprised. If it takes another week, I may not be so surprised."

To be sure, there has been no official date or timeframe shared on when Yellow Line service will resume. The CTA is sharing its review and testing information with the NTSB as it continues its investigation.

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