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Canadian National Freight Train Derails, Burns In Chicago Suburb, Snarls Metra Commuter Traffic

(Bartlett, Illinois – November 3, 2011)

As many as 22 cars of a Canadian National freight train derailed Thursday morning about 5:00 A.M. at the crossing of Canadian National and Metra’s Milwaukee West commuter line, throwing Metra’s morning commute service into an uproar.

The area near the derailment was thrown into panic as three cars of fiberboard and scrap metal caught fire, and carloads of sodium hydroxide (lye) and ferric sulfate in the train’s consist were endangered. All train service west of Spaulding Road was terminated, but several Metra commuter train sets which are stored in Elgin, IL overnight became stranded and unable to be used anywhere on Metra’s system.

School bus service in the Elgin School District, which includes Bartlett, was disrupted, forcing schools to adjust morning schedules. Ironically, Canadian Pacific Railroad handles all train dispatching over the Milwaukee West Line, as it is used to run CPR freight traffic into Chicago.

Firefighters and police from both Bartlett and Elgin, as well as officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office were on the scene to assist CN Railroad personnel.