MORRISTOWN, Ind. (WISH) - A freight train derailed Wednesday in northern Shelby County, and several train cars toppled into a river. A resulting chemical spill was under control Wednesday evening, but the collapsed bridge will disrupt passenger train service between New York and Chicago and any freight traffic on the line.
Chopper 8 was on the the scene west of Morristown, where the train crosses the Big Blue River near the intersection of Blue River Road and U.S. 52. Several cars have derailed, and it appears that a bridge has collapsed. Two people were on board the train, a conductor and an engineer, Morristown Fire Chief Steve Davis said. 24-Hour News 8's news partner the Shelbyville News reported no one was injured in the crash, and there were no other vehicles involved.
Davis said the engineer reported seeing a bent rail and hitting the brakes, and then the bridge over the river collapsed.
Chad Abernathy, Fountaintown, who said he saw the train derailment as it happened, told 24-Hour News 8 that he heard weird noises, saw the train cars wobble, then saw the train cars plunging down into the water.
Emergency Management officials told 24-Hour News 8 the train's tankers were carrying denatured alcohol (the kind used in camping stoves), and Hazmat has secured the scene and put barriers into the water to contain any spills. Five train cars were in or near the water, EMA said. Indiana Department of Environmental Management officials were on scene and had declared the scene stable.
EMA said there was no danger to anyone in the rural area.
The CSX train was westbound, from Cincinnati to Indianapolis. Davis said several trains go through the area daily. The train that derailed had about 15 cars, he said.
Davis said the bridge is about 100 years old, rebuilt after 1913 flooding washed it out.
The Federal Railroad Administration oversees all railroads - including this track and bridge where the derailment happened. However, they do not perform inspections of bridges. That is the responsibility of the railroad. CSX trains have had 194 derailments in the last 10 years in Indiana, according to administration data.
If the bridge had stood one day longer, passengers could have been involved. Amtrack spokesman Steve Kulm told The Associated Press the company's Cardinal line was set to travel the line and arrive in Indianapolis Thursday morning, before heading to Chicago.
Kulm said passengers will instead get off the train in Cincinnati and take buses either directly to Chicago or to Indianapolis to catch another train. When The Cardinal returns from Chicago later Thursday, passengers will get off in Indianapolis and take buses to Cincinnati.
Police dispatchers around Central Indiana reported a number of vehicle slide-offs occurred Monday morning.
Part of the Monon Trail will be closed Monday morning.
An Avon woman died Sunday evening from injuries she suffered in a three-vehicle crash in Jasper County.