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Published July 05, 2012, 11:19 AM

Train derails, bridge collapses near Chicago

CHICAGO — A freight train hauling coal derailed on Union Pacific tracks Wednesday in the northern Chicago suburbs.

CHICAGO — A freight train hauling coal derailed on Union Pacific tracks Wednesday in the northern Chicago suburbs.

Witnesses said a bridge overpass collapsed in the accident.

Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis said the train derailment occurred at 1:45 p.m. CDT by the Northbrook-Glenview border as the train was en route to a utility plant in Wisconsin from a coal mine in eastern Wyoming.

The train had three locomotive engines and 31 of its 138 train cars derailed, Davis said. About a third of the train had passed the 86-foot-long bridge before the derailment and the locomotives did not derail. There were no reported injuries from the derailment, said Davis.

He said a small fire occurred after the incident that involved vegetation in the area. He said the tracks being used are only used by its freight lines. No Metra service occurs on these tracks, said Davis.

Overnight and for about the next 24 hours crews will clean up the spilled coal and remove the train cars, Davis said. For another 24 hours or so after that workers will use stone fill to close up the gap where the bridge was, and install temporary tracks to get the trains moving again through the area.

The railroad will have to design and build a new bridge, which will take some time, he said.

Davis said the cause is under investigation, with teams checking out the mechanical equipment on the train as well as the bridge and the tracks.

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