High winds may be to blame for Toluca train derailment

By Anna Yee
By Maggie Vespa

May 6, 2012 Updated May 7, 2012 at 6:47 PM CDT

TOLUCA, Ill. -- Sunday's severe weather may be to blame for a train derailment in Marshall County.

Officials say high winds blew a large portion of a freight train right off the tracks. Authorities estimate about 30 cars were derailed, most of them near the train's mid-section.

They believe at least two people were on board, but there are no reports of injuries.

The accident occurred around 4 p.m. Sunday on the eastern edge of Toluca in Marshall County.

The train was operated by BNSF railway, heading west.

Several area police and fire departments, as well as hazmat crews, were on the scene for several hours.

Crews worked around the clock to get the train restored and running again, they say, hopefully by Monday.

County Emergency Services Manager Neil Pobanz says most of the trailers are hauling dry goods.

He sayd the two tanks knocked over are hauling the solvent M.E.K., but there does not appear to be any leaks.

Taking into account the size and weight of the train, experts say accidents like this, while not common, are possible in severe weather.

"Oh, we haven't had one of these for years. I mean in my territory and I just go from Lacon to Cole City," said Allen Morse, a track inspector. "But if there's high wind, it will blow them over. That wind is nothing to mess with."

Authorities say luckily the area is not densely populated.

They did close off a number of nearby roads, in order to keep spectators at a safe distance.

Marshall County 2900 Rd. is expected to be closed through Monday morning.

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