Train Derailment Causes Commotion, Creates Mess

by Toni Hopper

When Chad and Christy Davis' house at Railroad and Memorial Streets started shaking, their 12-year-old daughter Kora wondered what might be happening.

“I was just sitting on the couch and then there was this loud rumbling sound and the train was shaking the whole house. So, my mom said “look outside” so I looked through the window and I saw the train tilting and then it just collapsed down,” Kora said.

Chad said that it was extremely loud and their house was really shaking. Railcar wheels landed in a neighbor's yard about three doors south. The train cars that came off the tracks created a mess, mostly around the tracks.

It wasn't a typical Sunday afternoon for the residents of Marlow when the train derailed around 12:30 p.m. Marlow Police and Firefighters responded quickly and had area residents along First and Railroad Streets on the north end of the city take precautions to move their cars to side streets in case of evacuation. Margie Stallons was one of those residents who lived directly across from the main portion of the derailment on the west side of the tracks and moved her cars. It was quickly determined by officials that the incident was not a hazardous material situation, and for that, Stallons and others were extremely glad to learn. Marlow Officer Jordan Jones said that the train conductor said there was nothing of danger in the cars that toppled.

Firefighters extinguished hotspots that flared up along the tracks.

The line is maintained by Union Pacific, and it was expected on Sunday the cleanup could take several days. Main Street and other east/west roads were closed temporarily for inspections and until the crew lines could arrive to deal with the mess. Twelve cars were derailed and contents such as white fracking rock spilled onto the ground.

City Administrator Jason McPherson said Main Street and Choctaw Street were both open by 7 p.m. Railroad crews began repairing tracks Sunday night. McPherson said the city’s role included the perimeter and that the incident is a federal issue.

“How much better could it be? It was without incident, no fatalities, no houses damaged, no cars and it was right there at our power poles. No loss of life, just a loss of convenience. To come out as lucky as we did is great.” He could only remember about 3 car versus train crashes ever happening in Marlow. “I don’t remember a derailment.”

One resident, Susan (Shaw) Martin, remembers a derailment when she was about 13-years-old.

She even has the old black and white photographs as proof.

“Best as I remember it was just south of Main Street by the crossing. Everything fell to the side. My dad worked for Rock Island and that’s how we got to take the pictures. He knew the guys. They were hauling those 8-track (decks),” she said.

In our Marlow Review archives, we discovered additional proof to back up Martin’s memory. That derailment happened 63 years ago, June 10, 1960. We will publish a reprint of that story in our next edition. There was also a two-train crash in March 1945.