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Crews could be on scene of Caledonia train derailment for week

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CALEDONIA (WITI) -- Cleanup continues in Caledonia following Sunday's train derailment. The railroad reopened on Monday, January 20th, but there's still plenty of work to do!

Crews from Union Pacific could still be on scene at the intersection of 5 Mile Road and Nicholson Road for another week.

The derailment caused an awful lot of coal to spill near 5 Mile Road -- but the good news is that the first step of the cleanup is complete, and the railroad is back open.

The derailment occurred early Sunday morning -- and impacted 19 cars and damaged the rail. Officials say debris from the derailment is spread over a thousand feet, and 500 feet of track was destroyed.

The train had three locomotives and 135 coal cars from Wyoming headed for Sheboygan.

5 Mile Rd. between Nicholson Rd. and Highway 38 remained closed on Monday as crews worked to remove coal and chunks of damaged track.

"They worked through the night. They put in about 500 feet of new track and the next step is to get the coal out of there. That could take a week or a little more," Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale said.

Plale says the investigation into what caused Sunday's derailment is ongoing.

"They took some metal samples back to Omaha where they`ll have a metal lab take a look at that and see if it was faulty steel, if it was the weather. I think the wisdom is leaning toward that it`s the extremes in the weather," Plale said.

Despite the sizable response to Sunday's incident, officials say in the big picture, this isn't a big deal.

"The first thing I look for in this is did anybody die? Was anybody injured? Were there any toxic releases? And in this, the answer was no to all of that so as bad as it looked (Sunday), it really wasn`t that major of an incident," Plale said.

However, Caledonia fire officials were puzzled as to why the railroad didn't immediately notify them of the accident.

Union Pacific says it called police about an hour after the derailment.

"It didn`t land on a street. There was no injury. There was no fire, and it didn`t involve a person so it didn`t meet their protocol. I guess I can understand the Battalion Chief`s concern," Plale said.

The derailment forced the closure of 5 Mile Road between Highway 38 and 5 Mile Road.

Caledonia police were hopeful the roadway would reopen later Monday afternoon.

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