Make your home page

Train derails, railcars fall into Wabash River from bridge at Lafayette

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — A train derailed Wednesday afternoon on a Wabash River bridge on the border of West Lafayette and Lafayette, the Lafayette Police Department says.

The train was crossing the railroad bridge near the South Street bridge when the derailment happened about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, police say.

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.”

Jeff Ooms shared photos of the derailment with News 8. Reports said at least three railcars were in the river. The railcars appeared to be carrying rocks or cut-up metal.

A representative of Norfolk Southern Railway, which is involved in the aftermath of the collapse and derailment, told News 8 by phone about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday that no one was hurt and no hazardous materials were involved in the derailment.

Connor Spielmaker, a media relations manager for Norfolk Southern, said it’s not immediately clear who controls the bridge. Norfolk Southern expects no widespread disruption of rail travel for the region because the bridge is part of an interchange for a short line.

A 2019 state rail map from Indiana government shows CSX Transportation and the Kankakee, Beaverville & Southern Railroad also operate rail lines in the Lafayette area.

Lt. Justin Hartman with Lafayette Police Department told News 8 by email, “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.

News 8 photographer Reece Lindquist contributed to this report.