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Breaking News / Tory Hargro, USA TODAY

CHICAGO - Chunks of decades-old metal rained down on a busy thoroughfare in Chicago from a bizarre train accident in the city's Downtown Loop on Tuesday.

Shortly after 6 p.m., a train on the famed "El" threw a wheel, creating vibrations that loosened ties and couplers on the aging system, strewing hundreds of pieces of twisted steel - each weighing more than three pounds - under the tracks and onto Van Buren Street.

"It felt like an earthquake," said Cathy Pomerantz, who was in the Skyline Tap, a nearby bar. "I thought maybe somebody was blasting dynamite underneath us. I have been coming here for five years. I am used to the train noise but I have never felt anything like that."

While the area was quickly swarmed by police, firefighters and other emergency crews, Chicago Transit Authority personnel showed up later - mostly to clean up the debris. One went so far as to rip some of it out of a reporter's hands.

The lumps of steel look kind of like pretzels, or the "snake" fireworks people light off on the Fourth of July.

Still, no one was hurt, said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the CTA.

"There have been no reports of any injuries or property damage," he said. "And there is no structural damage, although we will have do some repairs."

The incident led to "minor delays" but Steele said that service had been restored by around 8 p.m.

He added that such incidents are "extremely rare" on a transit system that serves thousands of commuters every day.

That is small comfort to Kyriakos Damianide, owner of the Skyline Tap.

"They just fixed those tracks last year," he said. ""It was really dangerous. What if one of those pieces flies around and hits you in the head?"



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Metal rains down from train on Chicago's 'El'

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