BNSF freight train derails in East Galesburg; no injuries reported

Jay Redfern
Galesburg Register-Mail

EAST GALESBURG — The State Street railroad crossing in East Galesburg is closed as the result of a train derailment here Tuesday evening. No injuries were reported.

According to a news release from the Knox County Sheriff's Department, deputies responded to the derailment of a train belonging to BNSF around 9 p.m. Tuesday. The train was traveling eastbound and left the tracks east of the crossing at State Street.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation by BNSF. The crossing at State Street will be closed for cleanup until further notice.

Village of East Galesburg Acting Mayor Darrell Corbin said investigators on the scene reported approximately 30 to 40 cars derailed, but the engines remained on the tracks. BNSF has not said what the train was hauling, but Corbin said he was told there were no hazardous materials on the train.

"They don't know this for a fact, but they think a wheel might have broke on one of the cars," Corbin said. "Some of the cars are in the creek on the south side of the tracks, and some are on the north side of the tracks. A neighbor said it sounded like someone shooting a shotgun when it derailed. And another individual saw it happen and said the sparks were just a-flying, and cars were going every which way.

"They have all kind of heavy equipment in here now — cranes, bulldozers, you name it. They said there might not be any trains traveling on the tracks for a couple of weeks."

Corbin said crews will attempt to clear the crossing at State Street to make it accessible for vehicles to cross, but added it could take one or two days for that to happen.

"People are just going to have to take an alternate route," Corbin said. "People trying to get to or from Knoxville are not going to get through.

"I was born and raised in this town, and in my 68 years here, we've never had a derailment that I know of. One of the guys on the scene said it's one of the biggest derailments they've had in a long time."

Corbin said cleanup crews will have to bring additional equipment in through the former East Galesburg brickyard.