More than a dozen cars on a 77-car freight train derailed late Monday night in central Illinois and officials expect it could take days to clear the scene.
About 18 cars were overturned or off the tracks and two power lines were reported down by 10:30 p.m., Logan County officials said.
The train was traveling from East St. Louis to Proviso, Illinois, outside of Chicago, and was hauling mixed freight at the time.
No injuries were immediately reported involving the train crew or the public, according to Union Pacific.
There were initial reports that a car had been struck by the train but authorities later revealed that new automobiles were being carried in one of the train cars and some were damaged in the derailment.
Two of the train’s cars were carrying hazardous material but authorities said those cars remained upright and did not immediately show signs of leakage.
“We apologize for the inconvenience to the community, and are working to safely and quickly clear the site and restore normal operations,” Union Pacific said in a statement.
The downed power lines caused a railroad crossing in the area to go out, which authorities expect will take some time to fix.
“If you are not a resident there’s no reason for you to be down here,” said Logan County EMA Director Dan Fulscher. “There could be other items on the cars that have come off them and we won’t know until daylight hours."
Amtrak said it was awaiting word from Union Pacific on temporary track closures in the area. It was not immediately known if Amtrak service would be impacted, but the rail agency said it had already planned reduced service Tuesday because of “scheduled improvement work elsewhere in the corridor.”
"This is going to take days," Fulscher said. "The other bigger issues is once they get the train cars removed, there will be a repairing of the tracks themselves."