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From the Lafayette Journal And Courier, Thursday, May 22, 1952

30 Cars Derail And Fires Rages

Town of Lowell scene of Monon Accident

Station Destroyed - None Hurt

 

LOWELL, Ind., May 22 (AP)- A raging fire followed derailment of 30 cars of a southbound Monon Railroad freight train in the downtown district of Lowell early today.

The blaze was fed by fuel oil, gasoline and alcohol that spilled from six tank cars.

Some of the derailed cars splintered the old one-story frame railroad depot and the fire then consumed the wrecked building.

TANK CAR FUEL BURNS

The burning fluids from the tank cars ran down the gutters of the main street and traffic on Indiana Route 2 was blocked.

No one was injured. A Monon Railroad official estimated the damage at $250,000.00.

About 150 firemen from Lowell, Crown Point, Schneider, Shelby, St. John and Gary fought the blaze more than four hours before bringing it under control.

The wreck occurred shortly after midnight and the Lowell Police Chief, Harry N. Brown, said that members of the train crew told him it was caused by a broken wheel.

SOUTHBOUND TRAIN

The train was bound from Chicago to Louisville. The derailed cars were in the center of the 65 car train.

The Lowell station was to have been the center of Lowell's centennial celebration in a few weeks.

Many of the town's 1600 residents are growing beards in preparation for participation in a pagent to be conducted as part of the celebration.

Lowell is in southern Lake County, about 35 miles southeast of Chicago.

The diesel locomotive and the first 15 cars of the train remained on the rails and continued on to Louisville. A cut of cars on the rear end was hauled back to Hammond.

Wrecking crew began clearing the debris but it appeared traffic would not be restored until some time tonight.

Meanwhile, passenger and freight trains between Chicago and Louisville and Chicago and Indianapolis were being routed over the Erie railroad tracks to Wilders, where they were switched back to the Monon that operates between the city of Monon and Michigan City.


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