Metra says service on its Milwaukee West Line may not be back to normal until Friday, at the earliest, because of a fiery freight train derailment in Bartlett near Elgin.
All trains have been blocked on the line since at least 22 cars of a Canadian National train derailed at about 5:30 a.m. today in an industrial area at 31 West 504 Spaulding in Bartlett near Elgin. Three of the cars caught fire, but there were no injuries and no evacuations.
Metra Thursday night announced some changes already planned for Friday due to the derailment, but the agency emphasized that plans could change and encouraged riders to check their website early in the morning.
The Milwaukee District North train 2122 and North Central Service train 106 will not operate Friday.
There will be very limited bus service to get people to and from the Elgin and Bartlett stations in the morning.
Lambert Lane was closed this afternoon between Lake Street and Spaulding Road and Spaulding is closed between Gifford and Naperville roads.
Officials said the train with 120 cars was carrying three chemicals -- sodium hydroxide and ferrous sulfate -- but said they were not on the cars that caught fire. Bartlett police said two of the burning cars carried fiberboard and scrap metal and the third was empty. Earlier reports that organic acid was being carried on the train were incorrect, said Canadian National spokesman Patrick Waldron said.
“There’s no concern for inhalation and there was no vapor cloud because none of the hazardous material leaked from the derailment,” Bartlett Police Sgt. Geoffrey Pretkelis said.
Metra spokesman Michael Gillis Metra said there would be an extensive cleanup and perhaps track repair.
Metra encouraged commuters to use three other lines that run parallel to Milwaukee West: The North Centra, Union Pacific West and Union Pacific Northwest.
There was Milwaukee West service between Chicago and Bartlett this afternoon, but no trains were operating west of Bartlett, and all North-Central trains were also making Milwaukee West stops until 8:30 p.m. There is limited bus service west of Bartlett, and train 2135, the 5:12 p.m. train from downtown, is not running today. Metra was advising commuters to check its website for the schedule on those trains.
As of 4 p.m., outbound trains still were running only as far as Bartlett and on a limited schedule, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller. A limited number of buses are transporting commuters from Bartlett to Elgin train stations.
Miller encourages riders to use the Union Pacific West or Union Pacific Northwest routes as alternates. He did not yet know the agency’s plans for Friday morning’s commute.
In January, eight cars of a Canadian Pacific freight train derailed at a crossing at Raymond Street in Elgin. There were no injuries in that accident either, but it did delay Metra trains on the Milwaukee West Line.
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