Officials around Waterloo are full of praise for railroad workers after a train derailment that could have been a disaster. When a coupling broke and eight cars of an Illinois Central train went off the track, Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputy Tony Thompson says it made a big pileup. It looked pretty dramatic with 8 cars piled atop one another, but Thompson says the safety procedures the railroad had in place helped get control of what could have been a serious situation in a rural OR urban area. The incident happened just over 24 hours ago, between Jesup and Raymond in Black Hawk County. He says it’s pretty rural and there weren’t lots of homes nearby, but the train was a big one, a mile and-a-half long, and blocked three crossings in the county. Crews out of Dubuque and Chicago were standing by first thing this morning to re-lay track, and now the derailed cars are off to the side and the tracks are rebuilt. Seven of the 8 cars that derailed were empty, but behind them, 16 heavily-loaded coal cars had the momentum that pushed the others off the track. Among them was a tanker with sulfuric acid, but Haz-Mat crews from the Waterloo contained a small spill and evacuated a couple of farm families from homes nearby. Thompson praised the railroad’s fullscale attention to the derailment, and also credits the inter-agency work of First Responders in the area for quickly handling the event.
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