Roads reopening after Kalamazoo train derailment

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When 6-year-old Roman Boersma saw images of a derailed train on TV Tuesday morning, he had to see it live for himself before meeting his aunt for lunch.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said standing next to his mom. “I think it went off the tracks.”

Boersma was among the dozens of people who checked out the derailed train on the Grand Elk Line near Porter Street. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said it happened at 6:50 a.m. with 15 of its cars tipping over.

“You wonder if speed could be ultimately the problem,” said onlooker Greg Stone, a retiree of the City of Kalamazoo. “You can always have damage done to the track and that could’ve caused the derailment. But that’ll all be looked into very thoroughly.”

Police said they do not know what caused the incident. However it shutdown traffic on both Michigan and Kalamazoo Avenues. The surrounding streets — around HopCat and Bells Brewery — were immediately closed as well.

The roads started to reopen at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday evening after the train was hauled away.

City Manager Jim Ritsema said no one was injured in the incident. The only damage done was to a neighboring building. When a car tipped over it left a large hole in its wall.

“This is best case scenario because now all it is is an inconvenience,” said Chief of Police Karianne Thomas. “No injuries. No evacuations. No explosions.”

Bulldozer-type machines came in from Ohio to repair the damage in the afternoon. They lifted up the cars one-by-one and hauled them off as people continued to gather around the scene and snap pictures on their phones.



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