Train derailment in remote area escaped notice

Jul 24, 2013

A westbound freight train suffered a partial derailment near Mount Vernon earlier this month. But locals didn't notice until, days later, workers arrived to begin the clean-up.

No one was injured on July 6, when three cars carrying corn derailed off of a bridge in western Franklin County. The accident occurred where the rail line crosses an eastern tributary of Big Creek, just north of U.S. Hwy. 67 and west of Denton Creek.

"We think one of the rail car's wheels jumped the track at a rail joint on the west end of the bridge," said Wayne Defebaugh, president of the Blackland Railroad, which operated the train.

The Mount Vernon Optic-Herald, the weekly newspaper serving Franklin County, covered the story once it came to light. KETR spoke with Optic-Herald editor Lillie Bush-Reves about the incident and aftermath. Bush-Reeves said that the corn was cleaned up, the cars remain at the site, the bridge will need to be repaired and that westbound freight is being transferred to trucks at Mount Vernon so that the Blackland Railroad's customers will continue to receive products.