A freight train jumped the tracks near Willow Road and Shermer Avenue on the Glenview, Northbrook border. A bridge collapsed under the train, creating a boom so loud, neighbors said it sounded like an explosion.
A freight train carrying coal from Wyoming to Wisconsin derailed in the north suburbs Wednesday afternoon.
The derailment happened at about 1:45 p.m. near Shermer and Willow roads in Glenview when a train bridge collapsed. No vehicles or people appeared to be under the bridge when it collapsed, authorities said, and no injuries have been reported from the incident.
The freight train of three locomotives and 138 cars, all loaded with coal, was on its way from Wyoming to a utility in Wisconsin when four cars derailed. A small bit of grass caught fire after the train derailed,
When asked if the derailment caused the bridge to collapse, or the bridge collapse caused the derailment, local authorities said it was unclear. One motorist in the area, however, said he'd had ongoing concerns about how well the bridge had been maintained.
“It’s still a very fluid situation. We have no cause and effect information yet,” said Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis.
Jashwant Patel, who owns a Subway near the site, said the bridge had been recently repaired.
“This bridge was closed for three months last year while it was fixed and they said it would last 100 years. It’s the 4th of July and it hasn’t even lasted a year.”
The tracks are used by freight trains only, not Metra, so commuter service won't be affected.
Glenview Deputy Police Chief Phil Perlini said Shermer Road near the collapse would be closed until the accident is cleaned up and repaired, a process he said could take months.
Union Pacific officials will conduct the investigation into the accident, Perlini said.
The bridge was the scene of another derailment back in 2009. On Nov. 1 of that year, an 18-car southwest-bound Canadian Pacific train lurched off the tracks and hit another Canadian Pacific freight line stopped on adjacent tracks.
Davis said a broken center plate above the wheel assembly caused that derailment. There were no injuries in that accident either and the road reopened eight days later.