Federal Railroad Administration awaits report on Lafayette railway bridge collapse

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — The Federal Railroad Administration says it expects to have a report in three months of the bridge collapse that left railcars in the Wabash River on Wednesday.

The bridge collapse derailed a Norfolk Southern Railway train Wednesday afternoon on the Wabash River bridge on the border of West Lafayette and Lafayette, the Lafayette Police Department told News 8. The train was crossing the railroad bridge near the South Street bridge when the derailment happened about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday.

The railway’s report, once submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, will be posted to its safety data and reporting website.

Hundreds of people went onto the South Street bridge to view the wreckage. Brendan Reese, a Purdue University student, said, “It was kind of surreal. Like, you see stuff like this on TV and stuff and to see it in person, it was kind of crazy. … It’s not every day that you see this, especially to see it in person.”

A number of railcars were in the river after the bridge collapse. The railcars appeared to be carrying rocks or cut-up metal.

A representative of Norfolk Southern Railway told News 8 on Wednesday that no one was hurt and no hazardous materials were involved in the derailment. No widespread disruption of rail travel was expected. A 2019 state rail map from Indiana government shows Norfolk Southern, CSX Transportation and the Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad operate rail lines in the Lafayette area.

Lt. Justin Hartman with Lafayette Police Department told News 8 by email on Wednesday, “The railroad company did not want assistance from LPD so we were not involved in the investigation.”

Natalie Garrett, strategic communications director for the Indiana Department of Transportation, told News 8 by email that INDOT is not involved with the railroad bridge that collapsed.

The National Transportation Safety Board also told News 8 on Friday that it’s not involved with the investigation.

News 8 photographer Reece Lindquist contributed to this report.