Kalamazoo train derailment details released

Crews work to right a freight train car that derailed Friday night/Saturday morning in Kalamazoo. (Jason Walsh Photo)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Investigators have released more information regarding a train derailment in downtown Kalamazoo last month.

Eight freight cars of a 69-car long train derailed on the night of December 28, 2018 in the area of East Kalamazoo Avenue and Porter Street. No one was injured, but a building at 423 Walbridge Street was damaged.

The engineer told police that the Grand Elk Railroad train had just come from Martin, Michigan, where it picked up 12 cars. It was then to back into a train yard off of Mills Street.

The engineer says that the conductor was to be at the back of the train and count off how many cars were left to park, before switching to a different line. Instead, the conductor called out “that will do” and the engineer hit the brakes thinking that there were already cars on the line.  The train was traveling three miles per hour at the time, but the momentum carried the locomotive another half car length before coming to a stop.

The engineer told police that he then noticed that his air pressure gauge was at “00” and he knew there was an emergency. However, he didn’t know until police arrived that a number of cars had derailed.

Police say that the engineer was not intoxicated or impaired. No hazardous materials were spilled in the derailment.

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