Report: Bartlett train derailment caused by broken rail

  • Crews look over the scene as smoke rises from a train derailment between Elgin and Bartlett Nov. 3.

      Crews look over the scene as smoke rises from a train derailment between Elgin and Bartlett Nov. 3. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

Updated 2/9/2012 7:08 PM

A Federal Railroad Administration rail accident report brought up at Tuesday's Bartlett village board meeting shows that a November train derailment in the village was caused by a broken rail.

The report, based on information submitted by the railroad, also stated that equipment damage from the derailment amounted to almost $800,000, while track damage totaled to more than $1.3 million.


Canadian National Railway, the line that owns the train and the tracks where it derailed, submitted the report to the administration after the accident.

Twenty-two cars of the freight train derailed in the early morning on Nov. 3 near Gifford and Spaulding roads at the Elgin-Bartlett border, disrupting a commute for about 11,000 Metra riders.

Two of the derailed cars were tankers that contained hazardous materials in liquid form, but no chemicals were released that day, authorities said. Three other derailed cars caught on fire.

According to the report, the 70-car train was heading northbound at 40 mph when it ran over a broken rail.

Patrick Waldron, public affairs manager for Canadian National, said the full circumstances of what happened that morning are still under investigation.

Michael England, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the federal investigation is also still open and that he doesn't expect a conclusion for another three months.


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