BREAKING NEWS: Train accident closes state Route 43 North

Alternate routes offered due to ‘highly unusual’ incident

A cargo train became lodged under state Route 43 bridge Monday, 10:30 a.m., when the engineer miscalculated the height of his cargo. It was dislodged at 6:23 p.m. The road will be closed until at least Tuesday morning, after the Ohio Department of Transpo

Credit: Steve Schirra

   Traffic on state Route 43 North will encounter detours until at least Tuesday morning due to a train that did not make clearance under an overpass.

Sgt. Don Dunbar from the Ravenna post of the Ohio Highway Patrol said the train got stuck around 10:30 a.m. Monday, and the police were notified at 12:30 p.m. The train was being pulled onto the mostly unused tracks near the Hugo sand and gravel pit to fix a wheel bearing.

The highway patrol arrived around 2 p.m., a Hugo employee said. Dunbar said police stopped traffic by 3 p.m. after they found alternate routes for drivers.

According to Ohio Department of Transportation’s Web site, the 14-mile detour includes:

• Taking state Route 59 to state Route 44 to state Route 14

The road will remain closed until at least Tuesday morning when O.D.O.T. can inspect the sustained damage, Dunbar said.

The cars stood at about 20 feet tall, said an employee from Norfolk Southern, the company that was trying to fix the train’s bearing. The bridge only had about 20 or 22 feet of clearance, he said. “It was close.”

The crew used cranes to pull the train off the tracks and under the bridge. The Norfolk Southern worker said the five-car train had caught on one of the crevices in the underbelly of the bridge and had to be dropped off the tracks to gain the necessary height difference to pull it out.

“The second (car) was wedged in good,” Dunbar said.

The train began to move about 20 minutes after 6 p.m. resulting in the “wedged” railroad car tearing. It would be “lost” to damage, the Norfolk Southern worker said.

The tracks, which are privately owned, are usually used to bring limestone into the pit, not for normal train travel, said Mark Malinosky of Hugo. This train ventured back to use the open space to repair the wheel off the main rails and was not the size of the trains that normally use the tracks.

Malinosky said he thought he noticed two new hairline cracks in the bridge’s structure after the train had been removed.

Dunbar said the base of the bridge was actually raised up a little because of a cable on top of the cars.

This kind of incident is “highly unusual,” he said.

Contact Copy Desk Chief Rachel Abbey at [email protected] and Editor Jackie Mantey at [email protected].