Wisconsin train crash hurts 2 people, spills fuel

July 21, 2014 - 11:04 PM
Train Derailment Wisconsin

Workers clean up after a train derailment in Slinger, Wis., Monday, July 21, 2014. A southbound Canadian National train struck several Wisconsin & Southern Railroad cars around 8:30 p.m. Sunday at a rail crossing in Slinger, Wis., according to Patrick Waldron, a Canadian National spokesman. The derailment injured at least two people and spilled thousands of gallons of fuel that prompted the evacuation of dozens of homes, but evacuees were allowed to return around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Slinger Fire Chief Rick Hanke said. (AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Gary Porter)

SLINGER, Wis. (AP) — A Canadian National Railway Co. train struck another freight train as it rolled through a small village in southeastern Wisconsin, causing cars to derail, injuring two people and spilling thousands of gallons of fuel that prompted the evacuation of dozens of homes.

The southbound Canadian National train struck several Wisconsin & Southern Railroad cars around 8:30 p.m. Sunday at a rail crossing in Slinger, according to Patrick Waldron, a Canadian National spokesman.

Three engines and 10 railcars derailed, Slinger Fire Chief Rick Hanke said. Slinger is about 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee.

An engineer and conductor on the Canadian National train were taken to a hospital, treated for injuries and released, Waldron said Monday.

About 5,000 gallons of diesel spilled from a locomotive fuel tank, Hanke said. Hazardous materials crews placed booms around the spilled fuel and crews worked to upright the derailed cars Monday morning.

CN's derailed locomotives and cars were righted, and the tracks were expected to reopen Monday evening, Waldron said.

Some 100 people who live near the crash site were evacuated from their homes as a precaution, but they were allowed to return around 1:30 a.m. Monday, Hanke said.

The Wisconsin & Southern engineer applied the brakes after an onboard computer sensed something was wrong before the collision, said WSR spokesman Ken Lucht.

"There was an emergency situation prior to impact," Lucht said.

Investigators will interview the crew members and inspect both trains to determine what specifically triggered the sensor, he said.

The Wisconsin & Southern train was headed north from Janesville to Horicon and was carrying lumber, steel and plastic pellets, Lucht said. Some lumber spilled from a rail car. The Canadian National train was southbound from Fond du Lac to Champaign, Illinois, and was carrying sand, Waldron said.