Coal train derails in Belleville; hundreds without power

Coal train derails in Belleville.

Coal train derails in Belleville.

BELLEVILLE, IL (KPLR) – Investigators are assessing the damage after a coal train derailed overnight in Belleville.

The train jumped the tracks just before 2 a.m. at the Norfolk Southern crossings, located near Foley Drive and Frank Scott Parkway.  Frank Scott Parkway is expected to be reopened by 7 pm.

Belleville Fire Chief Tom Pour said eight coal cars came off the tracks.

Commuters are advised to avoid the area entirely. Foley Drive may be closed for the entire day and maybe even Thursday. The tracks will have been pulled out and replaced with new track, Pour said.

Emergency responders said no one was hurt. The train cars have not settled, however, and could suddenly shift at any time.

Power lines were knocked down.  Ameren Illinois crews are assessing the damage and working to restore power to customers by 6 pm. Pour said approximately 400 homes and businesses lost power as a result of the derailment, including Althoff Catholic High School and Belleville Memorial Hospital. The hospital had to run on generator power for part of the day until power was restored.  Althoff had to cancel classes for the day, but power has been restored to the school and classes will be held Thursday.