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Published: Friday, 4/26/2002

Deshler derailment cuts communications

Crews remove debris near where a coal car hit the town's former passenger depot. Crews remove debris near where a coal car hit the town's former passenger depot.

DESHLER, Ohio - Fourteen cars of a 100-car CSX coal train derailed in the middle of town yesterday, blocking a busy main railroad line and disrupting local street traffic for a time. No one was hurt.

At least one of the wayward coal cars hit the town's former passenger depot, which local preservationists have been trying to acquire from CSX and restore.

Robert Sullivan, a CSX spokesman, said initial reports did not indicate substantial damage to the building.

The accident severed a WorldCom telecommunications cable buried along the tracks, and a second cable was damaged during the cleanup.

WorldCom spokeswoman Linda Laughlin said long-distance telephone and Internet services were disrupted over a wide area of northwest Ohio until repairs were made.

The westbound train, en route from Columbus to the Chicago area, derailed about 6:20 a.m., Mr. Sullivan said. The cars that derailed were the 71st through 84th in the train.

The cause of the accident was under investigation yesterday, Mr. Sullivan said.

The derailment occurred within a junction at which a CSX line between Willard, Ohio, and Chicago intersects with a line between Toledo and Cincinnati. The Willard-Chicago line is used by 60 or more trains a day, and some of those trains were rerouted via Toledo yesterday.

Mr. Sullivan said CSX hoped to have one of two main tracks reopened by early today. The Toledo-Cincinnati track reopened once the rear cars of the derailed train were towed out of the way.

Sandra Shaffer, Deshler's postmaster and wife of Bill Shaffer, president of the Bartlow Township Historical Society, said one of the coal cars hit the southwest corner of the depot, but the extent of damage couldn't be ascertained.

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