Evanston firefighters helped evacuate seven people from a Yellow Line train car stuck north of the Howard CTA station Thursday night, according to Evanston Fire Department Division Chief Kimberly Kull.

The train had to be evacuated due to a loss of power along the Purple Line, Kull said. EFD safely emptied one of the cars just after 8:30 p.m. Thursday, while the Chicago Fire Department helped coordinate emergency response for the other car of the Yellow Line train.

No one was injured, Kull confirmed.

A southbound CTA train stands at the Noyes stop after traffic was halted Jan. 26 due to what the CTA described as track conditions at Howard. Credit: Alex Harrison / Evanston RoundTable

The CTA is still investigating the incident, but power was restored to all Purple and Yellow Line trains running north of Howard by 10:30 p.m., according to spokesperson Maddie Kilgannon.

“It’s obviously a frustrating experience for riders. We don’t want it to happen,” Kilgannon said. “But unlike other systems where that would have had a huge impact on service that would have lasted who knows how long, at the CTA, we can deal with issues pretty quickly, so these issues don’t become a major, major thing.”

Beyond Thursday night’s problems at Howard, the CTA has also faced severe staffing shortages and ongoing issues with longer-than-expected wait times for both buses and trains.

In an effort to expand its workforce and provide more reliable service, the agency released a “Meeting the Moment” report on its plans for the future, supplemented by monthly interactive scorecards featuring updates on service efficiency and hiring.

Through a dozen hiring fairs held in 2022, the CTA managed to attract more than 450 new bus operators. But the impact of those new workers has not fully been felt by customers yet, because the agency is now sponsoring the training required for new drivers to get their commercial license, Kilgannon said.

“I get why people are frustrated. I ride the train and bus every single day. I appreciate being able to schedule my trips based on how frequently a bus or train might run,” she said. “I think it’s important to note that the plans we launched in August are now paying off, little by little.”

Duncan Agnew

Duncan Agnew covers Evanston public schools, affordable housing, City Hall and more for the RoundTable. He also writes long-form investigations, features and the morning email newsletter three times a...

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