'It could have been a real disaster": Mayor talks about train d - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

'It could have been a real disaster": Mayor talks about train derailment

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BELLE PLAINE (KWWL) -

There are still several hours left in cleaning up the damage in Belle Plaine after a train derailment, Friday night.

A train carrying 125 rail cars jumped the tracks just before 11:30 Friday night, leaving 23 rail cars derailed.

Union Pacific says the train was traveling through Belle Plaine from Nebraska to Illinois.

"It could have been a real disaster for this community," said Belle Plaine Mayor David Fish. "In reality I think we dodged the bullet."

Fish says the Union Pacific tracks through town are very heavily traveled daily.

He says they hear are anywhere from 60 to 120 fully-loaded freight trains pass through town daily.

Friday night's derailment happened on the east end of town, but if the cars would've run off the rails just a few more blocks into town, Fish says the destruction would have been unimaginable.

"I don't even want to fathom what the thoughts are if it would've came up and could've taken out all our main streets and fortunately it picked about the most perfect spot to go off the track," said Fish.

Union Pacific spokesperson Mark Davis says a portion of the tracks reopened Sunday morning, but at least 12 more hours of work is still ahead for crews.

Davis says workers were given Sunday off to rest, but he expects them to start back up Monday morning at 6.

"I give them a pat on the back for how fast they reacted and  how quick the crews were in here," said Fish.

Union Pacific crews will have to stop train traffic tomorrow morning as they continue working to clean up the damage.

The cause of the train running off the rails is still being investigated.

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