Remote control train derails, lands on bridge

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. -- A remote control train derailed here on May 19, landing on the eastbound lane of the 135th Street bridge, the (Joliet, Ill.) Herald News reports.

Romeoville police said the train carrying freight into the Midwest Generation Plant went over the end of a switching track and came to rest on the road around 2:40 p.m.

Rex Fredrickson of Romeoville was in the area at the time.

"It appeared that if the locomotive was going four or five miles more, it would have been pushed into the canal," Fredrickson said. "Men fishing in the canal were probably the first to call Romeoville police. Police arrived on the scene immediately, and traffic was back to normal in a short time."

Doug McFarlan, spokesman for Midwest Generation, said the train was carrying coal and went through a fence. Two of the four lanes of the bridge remained open to traffic for most of the evening. The entire bridge was scheduled to be closed for a couple of hours sometime after 10 p.m. Sunday night to remove the train.

Both the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads carry coal into the Midwest Generation plant.

"When the trains are in our yards, we are responsible for them," McFarlan said. "We operate them by a remote-control system. There was no driver and no traffic on the road at that time. It is possible that the remote control malfunctioned. It is too soon to say exactly what happened."

No one was injured in the crash, and the exact cause is under investigation.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

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