“The biggest issue is access:” West Allis train derailment affecting local businesses

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WEST ALLIS -- Police have secured the area around the large West Allis train derailment that occurred Thursday, July 6th. They're asking people to stay away from the scene. Part of Greenfield Avenue is shut down in both directions. So what does this mean for businesses located right by the tracks? It's a big job and a messy one too.

Business near West Allis train derailment view

Estimator and Manager at Brownell Quality Collision Center, Ryan Konkel said there is, "lots of coal and train cars everywhere."

The intersection of Greenfield Avenue and 104th Street in West Allis is packed with heavy machinery to clear the derailment debris.

"There's tons of aluminum and dust," Office Manager, Ricki Konkel said.

It's quite the show and Brownell Quality Collision Center has a front row seat.

Road closure leaves local businesses running slow

"We are right pretty much under the bridge," Ryan said.

But the excitement comes with an inconvenience.

Ryan said, "the biggest issue is access."


When Greenfield Avenue closed, customers cannot easily access the shop.

"You have to kind of get permission from police to even get near here," Ryan said.

Signs put up due to aftermath of train derailment

Ricki said, "it would prevent some estimates from happening that could potentially be future repairs."

And deliveries are delayed...

"We've had a couple of companies call and say they can't get parts out to us right away," Ryan said.

Brownell's employees are busy, but there's only so much they can do.

The dumping of coal off of the Greenfield Avenue bridge, is part of the clean up but it is creating problems. It is leaving soot on top of the vehicles in the collision center's lot. It also means they can't paint vehicles.

It's an unfortunate situation, but one the business must deal with.

Drone view of the cleanup of the West Allis train derailment

Ryan said, "I am sure as the day goes on I will have plenty of annoyed customers. I'm gonna be a little held up on a lot of stuff."

Businesses in the area were also without power for several hours as the train cars hit a nearby power line.