A signal outage that left thousands of commuters stranded or delayed at Union Station Thursday was caused by “human error,” Amtrak’s CEO announced Friday.
“Amtrak has completed a root cause analysis of the signal system failures yesterday at Chicago Union Station,” CEO Richard Anderson said in a statement. “The root cause was human error in the process of deploying a server upgrade in our technology facility that supports our dispatch control system at Chicago Union Station. We failed to provide the service that Amtrak customers, Metra commuters and the general public expect of us.”
Trains at Union Station were running normally Friday morning following an hours-long issue that affected commuters during the morning, afternoon and evening rush hours Thursday.
A communication issue between Amtrak’s automated system and the signals and switches at the station halted all train movement beginning at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, according to Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. Trains were moving again with extensive delays by 10 a.m.
By 3 p.m. Thursday, Metra and Amtrak said the issue remained ongoing and service issues continued. Metra urged riders to monitor alerts and, if needed, make alternate plans as trains that do leave the station will likely be delayed.
“In my time here, which is now about 18 years I’ve not seen a signal control system outage of this duration,” Magliari said Thursday afternoon. “It’s been a long interruption and we want to make sure that we apologize to our customers, to Metra’s customers and others who have been inconvenienced.”
Officials said as many as 60,000 Metra commuters were affected by the issue during the afternoon rush.