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Chicago-bound Amtrak train in Michigan derails near Jackson

Update 3:15 p.m. - Workers hope to reopen rail line tomorrow

10 people were injured today when an Amtrak train collided with a semi-truck between Ann Arbor and Jackson.   None of the injuries were life-threatening.

The accident derailed the train’s engine and two passenger cars.   The collision also heavily damaged the tracks and the crossing. 

But a company spokesman says they hope to reopen the line by tomorrow morning.

David Pidgeon is a spokesman for Norfolk-Southern, which owns and operates the railroad that runs across southern Michigan.

 “Six passenger trains a day use that particular line…and another four to five trains of freight (a day) also use that line," says Pidgeon, "So we need to get that line open…as safely and efficiently as possible.”

While the section of track is being repaired, passengers are making part of their trip by bus.

2:17 p.m. - 10 injured

MLive.com reports that "a total of 10 people were injured" in this morning's Amtrak derailment in Leoni Township.

Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester said all were taken to Allegiance Health with non-life threatening injuries. Authorities had previously reported six injured.

11:50 a.m. - Passengers re-routed

A westbound Amtrak train collided with a truck this morning between Jackson and Ann Arbor.

There were no life-threatening injuries. The collision left the train’s engine on its side and knocked two passenger cars off the tracks.    

Marc Magliari is an Amtrak spokesman. He says  Amtrak will bus passengers around the crash site while repairs are under way. 

“Passengers who are ticketed …let’s say eastbound passed Jackson…would be taken by chartered motorcoach…to the Ann Arbor station where they’ll meet another train and continue on," says Magliari.

 It’s unclear how long it will take to remove the derailed train and repair the damage done to the rails. 

About a half million passengers rode on Amtrak’s Wolverine line last year. 

Here's video from the Jackson Citizen Patriot speaking with Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester:

11:25 a.m. - 68 passengers onboard - Photos of derailment posted

J. Scott Park of the Jackson Citizen Patriot has posted photos of the train derailment near Jackson.

The paper reports that six train passengers were injured in the crash. Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester explains what happened:

Jester said the semi-trailer, a lowboy trailer, was stuck on the tracks as the train approached the crossing at Portage Road near E. Michigan Avenue. There were 68 passengers on the westbound train. The engine and the first car derailed, Jester said. The crash damaged the train tracks, and the route will be closed for sometime, Jester said. Representatives from Amtrak are working with Norfolk-Southern, the company that owns and maintains the rails.

Michigan Radio's Mid-Michigan Bureau reporter, Steve Carmody, will have an update for us later today.

11:12 a.m.

LEONI TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Chicago-bound Amtrak passenger train has derailed in southern Michigan after crashing into a semitruck at a highway crossing.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot and TV stations WILX and WLNS say the wreck happened shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday in Jackson County. WLNS reports the truck driver has been taken to a hospital. Amtrak says there are no reports of life-threatening injuries.

Amtrak says the lead engine and at least two train cars derailed in Leoni Township, near Jackson.

Passenger Erik Swanson tells the Citizen Patriot he was sleeping, and the collision knocked his seat loose. He heard "a lot of grinding, iron on iron."

The train began its route in Pontiac.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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