Train cars blown off railroad bridge at Loop 287 W. in Lufkin

Published: Dec. 13, 2015 at 1:51 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 22, 2016 at 9:50 PM CDT
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Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Numerous train cars were blown off a bridge on Loop 287 West in Lufkin, Sunday morning. 

According to TxDOT, the bridge crosses above Loop 287/ North John Redditt Drive, near the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company. Loop 287 from Highway 103 West to Highway 69 North is closed to traffic at this time. 

Lufkin police sergeant Dale Jowell said 64 empty train cars blew over. Jowell said the cars were blown over around 7 a.m. by what is believed to be straight line winds. Several street signs, power lines, and trees were also blown down. Billboards in the area were also damaged.

"This morning we were still in bed and we just heard like a big thump and we ran outside thinking maybe it was a tree or something," said Leticia Rico, a Lufkin resident.

But what Leticia Rico and her family heard was much more than a downed tree. It was multiple train cars blown completely off of their tracks.

"We didn't know what was going on. That's when the whizzing and all the winds started going crazy. We just shut the door, got the kids and went to the living room area," Rico said.

"These cars were idle and waiting for service and apparently the winds were strong enough this morning to blow them completely off their wheels," said David Perkins, president of A&NR Railroad Company.

"Removing the railcars in the safest way possible will require certain things to happen," said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer for the Lufkin District. "Our officials have devised a traffic control plan for motorists until the cars can be removed, and we are hoping that will be by Monday evening. We are waiting on equipment that is being sent from Houston before the cleanup can begin."

TxDOT says it will take at least 48 hours to upright all 64 rail cars. Barricades will remain in place and drivers will be detoured until the roadway is cleared. Residents with direct access as well as businesses within the barricaded area will be accommodated to and from their locations.

No one was injured.

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