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Freight car derailment closed Shermer in 2009

The following story was originally published on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009.

Railroad officials said Shermer Road in Northbrook and Glenview will open sooner than expected, following a weekend freight car derailment that dumped loads of clay and wheat grain.

Auto traffic should flow again on Shermer Road, south of Willow Road to West Lake Avenue, starting late Thursday, said Mark Davis, spokesman for Union Pacific railroad in Omaha, Neb.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, a southwest-bound Canadian Pacific train lurched off the tracks and hit another Canadian Pacific freight line stopped on adjacent tracks.

Union Pacific owned both sets of tracks and was overseeing the round-the-clock cleanup and repairs.

No injuries were reported, but employees from a nearby dry-cleaning business were evacuated when a fallen train car came within 10 yards of hitting two outdoor propane tanks.

At 6 p.m. Sunday, hazardous material technicians were preparing to remove the full tanks, and area residents said they still had electricity even though several utility poles alongside the tracks were tilting from the accident.

Explaining the early opening of Shermer Road, Davis said parts for two new track switches had arrived from Cheyenne, Wyo. ahead of schedule.

“The overall cleanup and pickup went very well, and we had good cooperation from officials in Northbrook and Glenview,” Davis said.

He also said freight train service was not “seriously impacted” from Sunday’s collision.

The viaduct above Shermer Road was structurally sound after the mishap, Davis said, adding it passed a twice-yearly inspection in July

“I talked to a worker standing underneath the bridge just today. He said it’s structurally OK, and the concrete work is cosmetic,” Davis said.

In September 2008, Northbrook closed Shermer Road under the viaduct for one day for a different reason -- rains flooded the area. Village Engineer Paul Kendzior said heavy storms at times have flooded the road because two curbside inlets do not drain well.

The Illinois Department of Transportation owns that part of Shermer Road, and Kendzior said village officials have asked IDOT to upgrade the street drainage.

“IDOT hasn’t done that yet. They resurfaced Willow Road this past summer, but drainage wasn’t addressed,” he said.

IDOT spokesman Marisa Kollias said, “Shermer Road has a history of flooding under the viaduct, but we don’t see the relation to derailing on top.”

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