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IMG0537   Twenty-six cars of a 131-unit eastbound Norfolk Southern Railroad freight train derailed west of Albers Monday morning, according to local authorities and railroad officials.
   The derailment occurred east of the crossing at Winter Road. The cause is under investigation.
   Connor Spielmaker, media relations manager with Norfolk Southern Railroad, confirmed the derailment in an email Monday. 
   Albers Police Chief Brian Vielweber said Clinton County authorities received a report of the train derailment at approximately 11:25 a.m.
   Vielweber said he, Trenton and New Baden police, Clinton County Sheriff's Office and firefighters with the Clin-Clair Fire Protection District in Albers, and Breese and New Baden EMS units responded to the scene.
slideshow noinjuries   Also on scene were St. Clair County Special Services for hazardous materials and personnel from the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency.
   Vielweber and Trenton Police Chief Chris Jollenbeck were handling traffic control at the Winter Road/Illinois Route 161 entrance to the derailment scene.
   "Not knowing what we all had, upon arrival, we determined it was simply a train derailment with multiple cars, between 20 and 25, I'm guessing," Vielweber said.
   Vielweber said officials from Norfolk Southern Railroad were notified of the derailment "and they responded immediately to the scene." IMG4458
   Talking around 1:30 p.m. Monday at the scene, Vielweber said Norfolk Southern and other rail authorities were in the process of assessing what the damages might be.
   No injuries were reported and, even though there was fluid leakage from some of the rolling stock, no homes were evacuated as a result of the derailment.
   Initially law enforcement had received reports that the train had struck a vehicle. 
   That was not the case though, after authorities checked both sides of the track at length, finding no vehicle that might have been struck.
 
   Incident commanders on the scene had requested, then canceled, assistance requested from Air Evac and ARCH medical helicopters, according to a post to the Facebook page Southern Illinois Fire Incidents.
   Spielmaker said while there was a report of one of the derailed cars potentially leaking, "We do not believe it to be a large amount and there is no immediate threat to the public."
   "There was nothing on there, as far as chemical-wise, that would be alarming to anybody in the public," Vielweber said, "and as far as the danger, it's just a matter of staying away because there is quite a bit of debris laying around."
   Asked about the contents of the rolling stock, Vielweber said he knew there were some vehicles contained in some of the auto racks, but other than that he did not know what the shipping manifest contained.
   The lead locomotives and several undamaged rolling stock were relocated to tracks near a residential area in Albers around 1:35 p.m.
   There was no immediate word on the cause of the derailment. An inspector from the Federal Railroad Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation was on the scene.
   Vielweber said he thought the recent mine subsidence might be looked at, but could not say if that was a factor in the derailment.
   Since early May, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Office of Mines and Minerals and the Illinois Department of Transportation have been monitoring mine subsidence with relation to a dropping roadbed on Illinois Route 161 between Billhartz and Winter roads.
   Spielmaker said, "Our personnel and contractors are on-site and cleaning up, and will be there until that work is complete. We’d also like to thank the local first responders for their quick response and ensuring everyone’s safety."
   Crews from R.J. Corman Railroad Services in Caseyville, and Hulcher Services Inc. of East St. Louis responded to the scene with several semitrailers loaded with bulldozers, excavators, portable lights and other equipment for what is believed will be a lengthy cleanup process.
   "The process, from what I understand, is going to be long and tedious," Vielweber said. "It may take several days for this to get cleaned up and put back in place."
   Aviston firefighters were called to standby at the Clin-Clair fire station that afternoon for any calls in Albers.
   As far as the traffic, Vielweber said they are asking people to use caution when driving in the area.
   "I know it's something different that happens out of the norm here, but what they need to do is stay off the side roads that lead up to the tracks so that crews can get here and get it cleaned up."