Train to Houston derails

CHRISTOPHER, Ill. – A Union Pacific freight train derailed near this southern Illinois community early Monday, spilling an unknown chemical and forcing the evacuation of more than 70 homes.

There were no reports of injuries, said Union Pacific spokesman James Barnes.

“It did result in the release of a chemical,” Barnes said. “We’re trying to determine what kind of chemical.”

Two locomotives and 21 cars of the 83-car train left the tracks around 2:35 a.m., Barnes said. The train was headed to Chicago from Houston.

A hazardous material team was on the scene of the derailment, said John Hampton, a West Frankfort police and fire dispatcher.

More than 70 homes in the area of Mitchell Lake were evacuated, Barnes said.

The cause of the derailment has not been determined.

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