Human error caused the switching system issue that brought rail traffic to an almost standstill at Union Station Thursday, affecting tens of thousands of Amtrak and Metra passengers, Amtrak said Friday.
“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,” Amtrak said in a statement. “We failed to provide the service that Amtrak customers, Metra commuters and the general public expect of us. We own the system. We will fix this problem.”
Metra and Amtrak service returned to normal for Friday morning’s rush but it was an entirely different scene at Union Station on Thursday, as more than 60,000 Chicago-area commuters either faced crowds and long delays.
* From Sen. Richard Durbin…
I talked to [Amtrak CEO and President Richard Anderson] this morning and in blunt terms, asked him what happened in Chicago yesterday? Why did thousands of commuters see their service interrupted? He was honest and direct, and admitted that Amtrak made a series of errors.
The most important error they made was to decide to do a server upgrade to their computers during peak hours of service. This should be done in the middle of the night when only a handful of trains are running. Along with that, a worker fell on a circuit board, which turned off the computers and lead to the interruption of service that went on all day long.
Today, Amtrak issued a public apology to the people who were inconvenienced in Chicago yesterday. Mr. Anderson also told me there will be changes made when it comes to computer programming and upgrades in the future. But my job in Washington, along with Senator Tammy Duckworth, is to ensure that these federal agencies are held accountable. Amtrak failed yesterday, but I appreciate their honesty.
Emphasis added because… holy moly, how irresponsibly stupid can you get?