Railroad cars leaned over at a 45-degree angle, wheels in the air, as the second train derailment on Venice Road in a little less than two years occurred Friday afternoon.
Eleven Triple Crown railroad cars derailed, and preliminary indications show the culprit was a broken air line, according to Sandusky assistant fire Chief Paul Ricci.
No one was hurt, he said.
The last derailment occurred in October 2007. Reports the following April ruled an air line was too short and had disconnected.
Six railroad employees were walking the tracks but declined to comment, referring all questions to Norfolk Southern.
Susan Terpay, Norfolk Southern spokeswoman, said a cause could not be confirmed until an investigation is completed. When told this was the second derailment at that location, she said it was unusual to have two derailments occur in the same area.
“Derailments are not common. We always work to operate our trains safely and will thoroughly investigate this incident,” Terpay said.
Josh Ward, 2828 Venice Road, was standing outside his home and heard a loud bang.
“Then I just saw them topple down,” Ward said. “It’s not the first time. We lived here the last time; then they completely fell over.”
The derailment occurred shortly after 4 p.m. Friday. Terpay said there were 150 railcars, and cars 94-104 derailed as the train was entering the yard. The freight train originated in Bethlehem, Pa. and was heading to Chicago.
Ricci said all the cars were empty so no hazardous materials were spilled, but the angle of the cars was unstable.
“There is a potential to topple over,” Ricci.
Firefighters kept people away from the area. Area businesses remained open and nearby residents were allowed to remain in their homes.
Traffic from Ohio 101 had to turn around, but traffic from Monroe Street to Venice Road was rerouted down Huron Road, driving just a few feet away from the toppled cars.
As of 9:30 Friday evening, crews were working to right the cars and Venice Road was still closed to traffic. Ricci estimated the cars would be back upright by morning.