No one was hurt in a major freight train derailment in the Southwest Side Ashburn neighborhood early Sunday, which briefly knocked out power to 2,500 people.
Train Derails, Knocks Power Out On Southwest Side
A train derails near 83rd street in the Ashburn neighborhood on the Southwest Side. (Published Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012)
The derailment happened just before 2 a.m., when a train hit the rear of another train near Rockwell Avenue and 83rd Street, CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said. The collision damaged a third train on an adjacent track.
The major derailment sent eight full-sized cars off the tracks, and one slid down an embankment into a nearby backyard, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.
At least one of the trains was carrying liquid waste, Langford said. Emergency crews initially called for a hazardous materials response as a precaution, but nothing is leaking and crews found nothing hazardous at the scene.
CSX is working with first responders Sunday to gather information about the crash, said Sullivan, citing preliminary information.
“As always, the primary focus is on public safety,” Sullivan said. “An investigation is underway into what happened.”
All three trains involved were headed into Chicago, Sullivan said. One was a two-locomotive train from Nashville hauling 13 cars. Another train had four locomotives and 93 cars en route from Albany, N.Y. A third was coming from Flint, Mich. with two locomotives and 130 freight cars.
The derailment damaged an electrical pole and briefly knocked out power to about 2,500 surrounding homes between 79th and 87th streets, and between Hamilton Street and Homan Avenue, officials said.
Crews are still working on the downed power lines, but as of about 5 a.m. the majority of affected ComEd customers have electricity again, utility spokesman John Schoen said.
Trains run on an elevated track at that location, bordering a residential area and the northwest corner of the Beverly Country Club, maps show.
These tracks only service freight trains, so commuter rail travel will not be impacted, officials said.