Rail Cars Derail in Randolph County - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Evansville, IL

Rail Cars Derail in Randolph County

Rail Cars Derail in Randolph County
By: Carly O'Keefe

EVANSVILLE, Ill. - Residents of one small Randolph County town were a bit shaken up, but not surprised when 12 coal-hauling Union Pacific train cars derailed in their backyards Thursday night around 9 p.m.

"I thought it was an earthquake because everything was shaking," said Evansville, Illinois resident Darren Kempfer. "They run a 10 mile per hour speed limit through here, and it was going real slow and if it'd been doing any faster, it'd have been really devastating."

No one was injured, and the derailment caused minimal property damage.  However considerable tonnage of coal was dumped when 10 of the 12 cars overturned.  As Union Pacific crews clean up the coal and try to determine what caused the cars to jump the track, local folks have their own theories.

"These rails are in pretty rough shape.  If you stop on the tracks and just look down the rails, they're all bent and twisted," said Evansville Village Trustee Rick Schoenberger. "You could see the trains sway.  They'd sway quite a few feet each way.  All the residents that live up there, they were all concerned about it."

Kempfer had a garden located where several rail cars came to rest after derailing.  He said whenever he was working in his garden and a train came through, he would head up the hill to his house for safety.

"Yeah, I wouldn't stay close to the tracks, the way the trains would go back and forth.  I knew this would happen someday.  Everybody said it was going to happen sooner or later, and last night, it did," Kempfer said.

Now that the damage is done, and Union Pacific is completely replacing 450 feet of track, Kempfer sees a silver lining.

"I'll feel a lot safer with the new tracks being in," Kempfer said.

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