Metra still looking for cause of engine fire that evacuated train

Updated 12/5/2018 6:49 PM

Metra experts are still investigating why a locomotive engine caught on fire, disrupting the commute home for Milwaukee North District Line passengers Monday night.

A "catastrophic engine" failure on Train 2151 bound for Fox Lake affected about 100 riders who had to exit the train at Morton Grove, seven stops from Union Station.


Around 8 p.m., crew members heard "a loud and abnormal noise from the engine room," spokesman Michael Gillis said.

"They then quickly shut down the engine and noticed smoke and fire, which prompted them to contact emergency personnel and begin evacuating the train."

Between 20 and 30 passengers decided to wait for another outbound train that arrived at the station before 10 p.m.

The locomotive was built in 1977, which at age 41 makes it among the railroad's older engines. Metra locomotives have an average age of 31 years, the oldest in the nation among commuter railroads, officials said.

The agency this year has bought 24 used locomotives and is evaluating proposals for new models, but tight budgets will be a factor in that decision.

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