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Train Derails, Collapses Viaduct; Motorists Injured

March 31, 1990 GMT

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ A 250-foot section of a bridge collapsed Friday after it was struck by a derailed Union Pacific train, spilling three cars from the viaduct and injuring three people, authorities said.

A man and two women were treated for injuries. One of the women, age 46, was extricated from her car and admitted to St. Joseph Hospital in fair condition with chest injuries after the 10:55 a.m. collapse of the Locust Street bridge, authorities said.

Identities of the three people injured were withheld pending notification of relatives, said police Investigator Milo Mally.

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Two switching engines were pulling nine cars on the freight train when the third car, a covered grain hopper, apparently derailed and struck a pillar that supported the 74-year-old viaduct, said John Bromley, a Union Pacific spokesman.

None of the train crew was injured, authorities said .

The bridge, which crosses about 40 feet above the tracks in an industrial area, held three cars when it collapsed, authorities said. Two cars landed upright on debris atop two derailed freight cars; the third was upright near the end of the collapsed section.

Bromley said the train was going 8 mph when it struck the bridge. He said railroad officials were trying to determine what caused the derailment.

The railroad had been discussing removing the bridge with the city, Bromley said. The bridge had been cited for structural deficiencies in 1974 and was closed for three months for repairs in 1977, the Omaha World-Herald reported.