Freight Derailment Delays Metra Trains

HARVEY, Ill. -- Passengers on the Metra Electric Line train from Chicago to University Park had their commute lengthened by about an hour Monday afternoon after two rail cars carrying liquid fertilizer derailed in Harvey, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The derailment occurred at around 2:30 p.m. near 154th Street and Park Avenue in Harvey when two Illinois Central freight cars carrying anhydrous ammonia left the track and slammed into one of the catenary structures that carries the power lines for the Metra trains, according to officials at Metra and Illinois Central.

Passengers were ferried by bus between the Riverdale and Hazel Crest stations, according to Metra spokesman Tom Miller.

Metra and Illinois Central crews were working to right the two cars and rebuild the tower, and the section of track was expected to be open for regular train traffic by about 8 p.m., said Illinois Central spokesman Jack Burke.

Miller said workers had repaired enough of the tracks Monday night to allow a "fairly close to normal" morning commute on Tuesday. The 4:20 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. Metra trains from University Park to Chicago would be canceled Tuesday, but all other trains would depart as scheduled, he said.

Neither car leaked any of the fertilizer--which is extremely toxic and can cause severe burns--and the cause of the derailment was under investigation, Burke said.