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Local

Sheriff: Ultimate cause of train derailment 'undetermined'

A worker with C& C Track Works picks up debris on Sunday where railroad cars derailed Saturday night blocking Pines Road west of Oregon.
A worker with C& C Track Works picks up debris on Sunday where railroad cars derailed Saturday night blocking Pines Road west of Oregon.

OREGON – A train derailment near Oregon late Saturday night was not caused by the extreme weather, but other than that, its cause “will be undetermined,” Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle said Tuesday afternoon.

“... either vandalism or employee error,” VanVickle said.

The brakes were set on the cars, railroad officials told the sheriff, so unless someone comes forward or an arrest is made, why the 99 empty cars started to move, causing 17 of them to jump the tracks just before 10 p.m. at the Pines Road crossing just west of Devils Backbone Road, will remain a mystery.

The cars, with no locomotive attached, were being stored on the unused Illinois Railway line between Devils Backbone and Oregon Trail Roads. They rolled southeast toward Pines Road and hit a derailing device, causing the 17 cars to derail, VanVickle said in an earlier news release.

Pines Road was closed to traffic between Devils Backbone and Gale roads until Monday evening, while rail crews cleaned up the wreckage.

One of the cars also hit and damaged a ComEd utility pole; it was replaced early Sunday morning.

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