CHICAGO — Perhaps he was seeking to avoid a packed Red Line train. Maybe he hoped to take in a brisk spring evening. Either way, officials are frowning upon the decision of an unknown man who rode on top of a moving "L" train Friday.
"I saw a guy standing up between the cars," said Sean Ward, 31, a Rogers Park resident who hopped on the northbound train at Fullerton. "His upper body was sticking up above the train."
As Ward got in the "L" train car, the man, who was in between Ward's car and the last, disappeared, climbing on top. Ward said the man was about 5-foot-5, wearing a hoodie and had a scar on his face.
"He must have been sitting on top of the car and somehow holding on," Ward said. "I don't know how he did it."
Some passengers leaned to the windows to try to get pictures as the train made its short journey to Belmont. Ward tried to snap a photo of the joyrider, but his camera malfunctioned.
"It was very strange," Ward said. "It was sort of weird because I knew that I saw it, and I knew that other people saw it, but no one was saying anything to the conductor."
Ward looked for the emergency call button, but it was on the opposite end of his semi-packed rush hour train car, he said.
The man tried to climb down from the roof of the train before it got to Belmont, but he appeared to get stuck, Ward said.
"He was definitely about halfway down with his legs dangling for about 30 seconds to a minute," Ward said.
He couldn't open the door into Ward's car, so turned around and entered the last one. When the train got to Belmont, Ward said many passengers from his car began talking to CTA workers and ran to the other car, apparently in attempts to identify the man, Ward said.
But when the train arrived at the station, the man was gone, Steele said. Red Line trains were delayed for about seven minutes. Police had no information.
Steele said the CTA hasn't had a report of anyone riding on top of a train car in recent years. He was unsure if surveillance video captured the rider on top of the train Friday.
Steele says riding outside of rail cars is "extremely dangerous."
"Going out side of a rail car is dangerous and foolish behavior," he said. "No one should be outside a rail car, and no one should especially be on top of a rail car."
Ward said the stowaway seemed to enjoy his joy ride.
"He didn’t look malicious," Ward said. "He looked like he was having a good time riding the train in a way he wasn’t supposed to."