Railway near Bloomer to re-open Wednesday

BLOOMER, Wis. (WEAU) – UPDATE: A stretch of railway north of Bloomer re-opened Wednesday after being closed because of a derailment.

Progressive Rail operates the railway along County Highway SS where the derailment happened Saturday. The Chief Executive Officer told WEAU the railway was going to be back in operation by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Two derailments happened near the same area in Bloomer in the last couple of weeks. The first one happened on November 21st when three cars were tipped over. The second train derailed on Saturday and involved 18 cars but those didn't tip over.

The Chippewa County Sheriff says because there were no hazardous materials spilled, roads blocked, or injuries, Progressive Rail can handle the matter privately.
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12/3/13
BLOOMER, Wis. (WEAU) – Two separate train derailments happened within ten days of each other in the Town of Bloomer. The railway is operated by Progressive Rail, based in Minnesota.

The company says 24 of its train cars were derailed because of wear and tear which led to broken rails tear on the tracks. The first incident happened on November 21st and another last Saturday.

But a lot of what was left along Co. Hwy SS has been cleaned up by Progressive Rail. But from Tuesday night into Wednesday, crews will be busy at work getting the rail back into business. Progressive said their deadline is set for Wednesday.

Nearby neighbors say the reconstruction is hard to ignore when the railway is in their backyard.

“It seems a little strange to have a bunch of men out here every day working on stuff,” said Debbie Lotts who lives just down the road from where the rail broke. “The first one was six cars and three of them were pretty much tipped over and three were crooked on the tracks .”

Just this past Saturday, Lotts said some loud noise coming from a train engine kept her up in the middle of the night.

“I just thought it was kind of odd that just the engine would be there and no cars there. So when I got in the car to go to church, then I see where all the cars were on the tracks down the road here a little ways and all about ready to tip over,” said Lotts.

Chief executive officer Lon Van Gemert said all the train cars were filled with sand. The first derailment caused three cars to fall off the tracks. A little more than a week later, 18 cars were derailed. Those cars have since been removed.

Sheriff James Kowalczyk said there were no records of the Saturday derailment and that's because not every accident is required to be reported.

“These two incidents apparently did not cause any damage to the roadway, there was no spillage and in reality there was really no need for law enforcement to respond to these two derailments that occurred here with in the last couple of weeks,” said Kowalczyk.

Kowalczyk said if there had been hazardous spillage, injuries or road blockage, the Sheriff’s Department would have gotten involved.

Progressive Rail said they hope to have the railway operating by Wednesday.


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