Train Bounces Off Track in Westlake

February 3, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

The sign says "welcome," but motorist felt anything but as those coming and going were turned away due to a partial train derailment.

"Once we got here and a hold of the train crew we discovered that actually one set of wheels had jumped the tracks due to a mechanical malfunction," Captain Michael Dickerson with the Westlake Police Department.

The train on Union Pacific tracks was carrying several unknown materials and at no point caused a threat to the public. As union pacific workers inspect the tracks, off-duty officers were called in to redirect traffic, which quickly backed up on Sampson Street and Miller Avenue.

"The train crew has come up with a plan to disconnect approximately where the train has bounced off the tracks and are going to move it out of Sampson Street as soon as possible," said Dickerson.

Until that can be done, drivers are diverted west to Trousdale Road and through Moss Bluff.

"This is what I've always dreaded, an accident on the train tracks. I have no way to get to my house," said Westlake resident Rachel Rush.

"Now we're going to have to turn around and go backwards just to get forward. It's probably about 20-to-25 minutes are so," said Westlake resident Jason Gillen. "We have to wait all the time and it would be nice if Westlake had some type of overpass or something, but I don't see that happening."

Westlake residents have been asking that an overpass be put in for years and say this is a perfect example of why the project is long overdue.

"I don't want to think of how critical it would be that I would have to get to the hospital to get out for surgery or something. I'd be stuck in Westlake," said Gillen.

"It's an inconvenience, but as people know in Westlake -- trains happen and so do accidents," said Dickerson.

Westlake police were able to reopen both Sampson Street and Miller Avenue to traffic at around 1:45 p.m. Meanwhile the accident remains under investigation by Union Pacific.