Jan. 19--Cold weather may be to blame for a coal train derailment Sunday morning in the Village of Caledonia that forced authorities to close a road as authorities clean up the scene.
Nineteen cars were involved in the derailment, with no injuries to the engineer or conductor and no release of hazardous substances, Caledonia Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Henningfeld said. Numerous cars were "mangled and destroyed," he said.
The 135-car coal train originated in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and was headed to the power plant in Sheboygan when the derailment happened around 6 a.m., Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said.
The cause is under investigation by Caledonia police and Union Pacific Railroad officials. But Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale, who went to the scene, told the Racine Journal-Times the northbound train hit some rails that were cracked by the recent brutally cold weather.
"When it gets super cold, tracks get brittle and can crack like what happened here," Plale told the Journal-Times.
The state Department of Natural Resources sent a crew to monitor clean-up, police said, and crews were on the scene throughout the day Sunday to clear the tracks. Davis said it was unclear when the track would reopen.
Five Mile Road between Highway 38 and Nicholson Road will be closed indefinitely while the scene is being cleared because part of the train stopped on a road overpass, Caledonia Police Lt. Brian Wall said.
Up to 40 trees will need to cleared in order to make room for equipment that's being brought in by the railroad to clear the scene, he said.
Journal Sentinel reporter Meg Jones contributed to this report.
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