Dongola Derailment - 25 Years Later

Dongola Derailment - 25 Years Later
By: Wes Wallace

(Dongola, IL)--As folks in Tamaroa continue to clean up and get their lives back to normal, another Heartland community looks back on their own train derailment that happened 25 years ago.
On February 22, 1978, an Illinois Central freight train left the tracks in Dongola, wiping out the backside of a service station, and forcing an evacuation. Just like the Tamaroa incident, a chemical leaked from one of the railcars, but the residents of Dongola returned after being out of their homes for only two hours.
The '78 derailment wasn't the first for Dongola, including another train wreck in the 1960's. After the series of train accidents, crews worked to create a slope along the tracks to help trains navigate a sharp curve, and hopefully prevent any future derailments.
Some of the Dongola residents say the spilled chemical left a 'rotten-egg' like smell behind. While the odor is gone, the memories of the derailment still linger in the minds of those who experienced it more than 25 years ago.