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Update: LeClaire rail traffic resumed, city leaders want to talk to Canadian Pacific about train speed

Update: LeClaire rail traffic resumed, city leaders want to talk to Canadian Pacific about train speed

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Canadian Pacific has resumed rail traffic and all rail cars from Friday's derailment in LeClaire have been removed from the track.

The news was shared by the Scott County Emergency Management Agency on its Facebook page.

"At 0800 Saturday morning, LeClaire Fire and Police, as well as City officials, met with Canadian Pacific Command staff and support members to reassess the ongoing cleanup efforts following the train derailment in downtown LeClaire," the update read. "CP staff indicated that throughout the day, remaining rail cars would be loaded onto tractor trailers and removed from the site with cleaning being performed as the process continues."

The update also says air and water monitoring has been performed by Canadian Pacific and that they have indicated to the Department of Natural Resources that no significant findings have been identified.

Around 24 cars derailed, according to paperwork filed by Canadian Pacific. 

The derailment occurred before 11 a.m. Friday as the CP train was traveling south through LeClaire. There were no injuries or fatalities reported and no threat to the public, the EMA said in a news release Friday. 

At the LeClaire City Council meeting Monday, Mayor Ray Allen said he was looking to speak to Canadian Pacific about the speed of its trains.

“I am concerned about the speed issue, not so much to being the cause of the accident but it just seems like speed makes the result of the accident like that much worse than it otherwise might be,” Allen said.

Allen said the accident could have been much worse, noting that if the cars had fallen towards LeClaire’s business district rather than the levee, there may have been demolished buildings. “It could have been a pretty terrible thing.”

Mayor Pro Tem Dennis Gerard agreed, saying they needed to have discussions with CP. “When I look at this picture, the first thing that I thought about was what if this would’ve happened at Tugfest? Can you imagine?” he said.

City Administrator Edwin Choate said the levee will remain closed. The full extent of damage to the levee, or the area south of the tracks, will need to be determined after CP power washes the levee. “Until that happens, frankly, we can’t see the extent of the damage down there,” he said.

Choate did praise the forthrightness of the railroad.

An official cause for the derailment has not yet been released. A Youtube video that contains audio from the derailment says they had passed a section of broken track that may have caused the derailment.

“CP9716 North, hit a broken rail just past the south switch of LeClaire. I do believe we are on the ground,” the audio says to a CP dispatcher, referring to the derailment.

“We went over about a two-foot piece of broken rail, it’s pretty rough. And then we lost our air. And as far as we can see back, we’re missing a bunch of our train.”

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