Derailment blocks Metra line; no Friday service

Freight train will not be cleared by afternoon rush
January 16, 2009 11:37:07 AM PST
A freight train derailment Friday is blocking a Metra line and will not be cleared by the end of Friday.The North Central line is completely blocked by a 70-car Canadian National freight train that derailed in Buffalo Grove just after 4:30 a.m. The Metra line runs to and from Antioch beginning at 5:20 a.m. weekdays.

Michael Gillis from Metra says they hope to have trains moving again by Monday morning. Gillis says Canadian National will clear the scene and repair the tracks this weekend, when no trains are scheduled to run on the line.

There are 17 cars derailed, according to CN. Two of those cars contained a molten sulfur that was leaking, lengthening the clearing process. CN says the material in the two cars is not hazardous but was stored at an extememly high temperature, which caused concern. .

Gillis says the blockage will affects about 5,000 commuters.

"It's difficult, especially when it's that late in finding out about something like that, where you've got to totally take something different than what you're normally taking," said commuter Cheryl Anaszewicz.

Gillis said commuters can use the Milwaukee District North line.

"We're just advising them to find alternative means until the situation is resolved," he said.

Officials were wondering what role cold weather played in the accident.

"We evaluated the scene, met with CN representatives and pretty much right now it's been handed over to CN to have them start to remove the cars and replace the track," said Chief Terrence Vavra, Buffalo Grove Fire Dept.

"From where we're at right now, it looks like that process will take for the remainder of the day. And it is unlikely Metra service will be able to be restored today," said Patrick Waldron, Canadian National spokesperson.

Buffalo Grove police say no evacuations took place in the area.

"Currently, the only roadway that's blocked is Deerfield Parkway near Commerce in Buffalo Grove. We have been able to open up the other locations that are near the incident, which would be Route 22, (that) is open. Buffalo Grove Road at Main Street is open. Again, as the incident moves forward and they have to get more equipment in, that will kind of be a fluid situation as far as whether those will remain open for any period of time," said Sgt. Scott Kristiansen, Buffalo Grove Police.

Officials say there were no injuries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.