We reported last week on the Chicagoland commuter train that whacked a dozen cars at a crossing. Initial reports said that the gates hadn't closed, but this apparently doesn't seem to be the case. Apparently, the cars struck by the train were caught in traffic from the time the signals go off, drivers have 54 seconds to clear the tracks before the train crosses, but due to a rush-hour snarl, the vehicles had nowhere to go. When the engineer noticed the cars stopped on the tracks, he applied the e-brake, but the inertia of the train was simply too much the train only slowed 5mph before it plowed into the stranded cars, injuring sixteen.
Traffic Trapped Cars on Ill. Train Tracks [ABC News]
Commuter Train Smacks Down 12 Cars in Chicago, Doesn't Derail [Internal]