Fifteen cars of a coal train derailed in Ottumwa about midafternoon Wednesday. A startled motorist from Missouri says he was sitting at the crossing in his car and saw it happen. Mike Earns (urnz) of Boonville was still there after the cars tilted, spilled their load…and blocked three railroad crossings in Ottumwa. He was sitting there waiting for the train to pass when he heard a big “bump” and saw a coal car drop down pulling the rest of them, and he adds the engineer got the train stopped quickly. Neal Abbott was working inside a building in Ottumwa that’s adjacent to the railroad tracks.He was sitting at the break table and hearing a train go by, something they’re used to, when the noise got really loud and a secretary who went to look outside said “It’s derailing!” Assistant Ottumwa Fire Chief Ron Rowland says it’s a good thing there was little damage and no injuries. He says there are buildings, some of the occupied, really close to the tracks in that part of the town and if the cars had gotten “stacked up” in different directions than they did when derailing, it could have been a lot worse. Nobody was hurt, though the derailment happened near Ottumwa’s alternative high school and has both east- and west-bound railroad tracks closed through town, including the tracks that carry Amtrak’s California Zephyr. No word yet on when the tracks may be cleared, though two of the three street crossings within the Ottumwa city limits were cleared by late afternoon.
You are here: / / Train derails in Ottumwa