Metra: Freight derailment snarls SouthWest Line service

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By Rosemary Regina Sobol
Tribune reporter

“Extensive” delays and at least one cancellation are expected today for Metra’s SouthWest Line riders after a freight train derailment in South Side’s Fuller Park neighborhood, officials said.

Norfolk Southern spokeswoman Susan Terpay said the train hauling consumer goods was operating “very slowly’’ pulling into their 47th Street Intermodal Facility at 361 West 47th Street to deliver the freight when, at 11:55 a.m., two locomotives and one train car derailed.

The derailment occurred near 41st Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.
“The locomotives did not tip on their sides; the wheels are off the tracks and they are leaning,’’ Terpay said. The position of the rail car was not immediately known.

No one was hurt but some fuel leaked from the locomotives.

“We will make sure it’s cleaned up,’’ she said, adding the leak did not present a hazard.

One of three separate companies called were on the scene to upright the three cars.

Terpay said it was not yet known if the tracks below were damaged. It was also not known why it occurred or when trains will be allowed through.

“I can’t give you an estimate” on the time, Terpay said.

The derailment remains under investigation, she said.

Gillis said the incident is expected to cause “extensive’’ delays to Metra’s SouthWest Line service.

As of 1 p.m., two trains were affected: inbound train No. 826, which is stopped near 79th and Columbus on its way to Union Station, and train No. 815, will not run today because of the incident, Gillis said. That train was scheduled to depart Union Station at 12:35 p.m., said Gillis.

Commuters using the SouthWest Line are being alerted that there may be more cancellations until trains are able to move past that area.

“We don’t know how long it will take,’’ Gillis said.

The following alert for the SouthWest service, which runs from Chicago to Manhattan, was posted on Metra’s website:
“Due to a freight train derailment not involving a Metra train, all inbound and outbound train movement is halted east of Wrightwood.  Extensive delays and possible train cancellations are expected.  Metra suggests you use alternate transportation if available. Metra will update this site as information becomes available.”

Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC

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