DECATUR — Heavy equipment and specialist recovery crews worked throughout the day Monday to clear away six railroad freight cars that derailed on a dead end siding in north Decatur on Sunday night.
Four of the CN railroad’s cars contained what the company described as “agricultural products” and firefighters later said was soybean oil, while one tanker car was empty and another car was loaded with limestone.
The cars ended up in a heap and partly toppled down a steep embankment off East Stella Drive, close to East Mound Road. The accident had happened around 9 p.m. Sunday as the cars were being moved. Police had initially blocked traffic from the area Sunday night until it was determined the cargo didn’t pose any kind of threat.
“This was non-hazardous products on a single track spur north of our Decatur yard,” said CN spokesman Patrick Waldron. “We are still investigating the whole incident and the cause and circumstances are all being investigated.”
It appeared to witnesses at the scene that the cars had traveled too far and rammed through the end of the track, traveling within yards of Mound Road before grinding to a halt in raw earth. Waldron confirmed the cars involved were being moved but he said he didn’t have information on how or why they were in motion.
“Those details are being gathered,” he said.
Decatur firefighters stood by for about an hour after the derailment but stood down when it was clear the cars and their contents posed no risks.
“Our primary concern is to make sure it’s not hazardous, it’s not leaking and it’s not any kind of flammable liquid,” said Battalion Chief Todd McKenzie. “In this case, all it was going to do if it spilled was make a mess.”
CN said Monday it did not have an estimate yet on the dollar value of the accident.