A Union Pacific train derailed shortly before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday near the Topeka Boulevard bridge.
Union Pacific spokesperson Jeff DeGraff says 12 cars went off the tracks as the train was crossing a rail bridge just west of the 100 block of NW Crane Street.
The derailed cars are typically used to haul automobiles, but were empty when the derailment occurred.
DeGraff says the train was being operated by a two-person crew consisting of a conductor and an engineer. Neither were injured.
Tina Rodriguez, an employee with the City of Topeka Street Maintenance Department, was in her office at 201 NW Topeka Blvd when she heard the crash.
“We heard this loud noise and thought someone was hitting our building with one of the trucks or trailers,” Rodriguez said. “[A co-worker] went outside and I heard him screaming. We came out and it looked like dominoes; each car was falling over around the curve as far as you could see.”
The 12 cars that derailed were on a section of tracks located just behind the back lot of the City building. The front of the train had crossed the bridge into North Topeka. No other cars were derailed.
DeGraff says Union Pacific crews were called to the scene to start investigating the crash.
“We’ll be looking to assess the damage and develop a plan to get the cars back up-right and off the track,” said DeGraff. “Then we got to look at any potential track damage and how we want to address that.”
DeGraff said it could take several hours, if not longer, to clear the tracks and start looking into what caused the derailment.
More on this as it develops.