Crews continue to clean train derailment

Local News

Latest: 5:00 pm, 5/16/17, Tuesday 

ELKHART — The mess from a train derailment could be around for awhile. A cargo train was on its way to Chicago when more than a dozen cars jumped the tracks.

Now, one of Amtrak’s busiest routes is having major delays. Officials say delays have been up to two hours since they’re using charter buses to get people where they need to go. As for the track itself, they say it’ll be awhile before it’s back in service.

“Nothing like this has ever happened in this area.”

This isn’t your average day here. Many say they woke up to chaos.

“Our entire house shook.”

“Kind of scared me at first.”

It happened late Monday night. Now, dozens of emergency crews have a major clean-up on their hands. They’re hauling huge scraps of metal and clearing up debris stretching across the main entrance to town.

No one was hurt, but several brand new vehicles were crushed in the wreckage. Traces of twisted steel are scattered around the track.

“Crews have been working overnight. Actually made remarkable progress as they move the train.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, tracks were 90% clear, but it will take days before Amtrak’s busiest downstate route is back on schedule.

“About three days until they have debris cleared and they’re able to inspect the tracks for safety.”

Until the track is reopened, Amtrak is using charter buses to continue routes for passengers.

“Amtrak system is shut down from St. Louis to Chicago and, if you’re going to use Amtrak, you’re going to have to go either north or south to make those connections.”

In the meantime, authorities are asking people to stay away from the damaged track while they work to finish repairs and hopefully restore services.

The cause of the derailment is unknown at this time. This is a high speed rail, but it’s not clear how fast the train was going at the time.

18 of 77 cars derailed at about 10:15 pm, at the crossing of Governor Oglesby Street, near downtown. 

Update: 11:00 am, 5/16/17, Tuesday

ELKHART — Crews are moving quickly to remove overturned rail cars from the area of Old Route 66. 18 freight cars derailed about 10:10 pm, Monday.

As of 8:30 am, Tuesday, only four of 18 derailed cars remained overturned. Two cars carrying NaOH, isopropylene alcohol, were not compromised in the accident and have been determined safe.

While area roadways are open, authorities ask drivers and onlookers to stay away and leave the roads open to resident and emergency crew use only.

Farmers are asked to avoid bringing large equipment through town for a few days, if possible. Authorities say bout 100 yards of railroad is unusable, so there won’t be any rail traffic through the area for at least two days.

Train travelers should expect delays, but alternatives are being made to help people going in and out of the area. 

Original: 8:00 am, 5/16/17, Tuesday

ELKHART — Crews continue to clean up after a train carrying hazardous materials derailed.

It happened in Elkhart, parallel to Route 66. Fire officials say 18 cars derailed and 17 were on their sides. 

Fire officials, Union Pacific, IDOT and railroad police all responded to the scene.

They say it’ll take about two to three days to clear up. No one was hurt.

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