A train with
mechanical problems stopped for at least 90 minutes on the Norfolk Southern
line turned Downtown Chesterton--and Ind. 49 as well--into a parking lot
Tuesday afternoon, the Chesterton Fire Department is reporting.
Capt. Rudy Jimenez
told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that the CFD was notified of
the stopped eastbound train at 3:22 p.m. but that it had probably ground to
a halt somewhat earlier than that. All five at-grade crossings were blocked
as the train awaited the arrival of a repair crew, Jimenez said: North
Jackson Blvd., North 15th Street, North Eighth Street, North Fourth Street,
and South Calumet Road.
Unable to cross the
tracks anywhere in town, motorists accordingly took to Ind. 49 in an attempt
to get around the bottleneck but only succeeded in creating a new one,
adding their vehicles to the normal rush-hour volume. Jimenez said that the
northbound lanes of Ind. 49 were stacked “bumper-to-bumper” from Indian
Boundary Road all the way south to East Porter Ave.
matters yet further was a two-vehicle accident on Indian Boundary Road at 4
p.m. Although the CFD was able to thread its way through town without much
difficulty--Broadway to South Calumet Road to East Morgan Ave. to Roosevelt
Street to East Porter Ave. and then to Ind. 49--getting to the scene on
Indian Boundary Road proved to be a challenge. “Traffic on northbound Ind.
49 was very difficult to navigate because people were failing to yield right
of way to fire equipment,” Jimenez said.
Then, on arriving
at the scene--seven minutes after the initial call--the CFD was forced to
close the westbound lanes of Indian Boundary Road, adding one last clot to
the congestion. Two persons were transported to hospital, Jimenez said,
after a motorist attempting to exit from the McDonald’s drive T-boned a
second vehicle eastbound on Indian Boundary Road. The CFD cleared that scene
at 4:29 p.m.
The train finally
got moving again at 5:01 p.m., an hour and 39 minutes after the CFD was
first informed that the train had stopped.