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Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner easing fears after two train derailments

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - If you're worried about being on a train that derails in the bitter cold, don't be.

State Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale said 99.97 percent of all freight trains complete their shipments without incident. He said the last time a passenger train derailed in Wisconsin was in 2010, and the weather had nothing to do with it.

Despite that, Amtrak canceled half its normal runs Monday on its Milwaukee to Chicago Hiawatha line. Amtrak said it wanted to maintain service while reducing exposure to, "extreme weather conditions" that are in the forecast.

Nineteen cars of a Union Pacific coal train derailed earlier this month in Racine County, due to a track that broke up because of the cold.

In Janesville, part of a Wisconsin and Southern grain train jumped the tracks last week. Officials said the cold might have caused a malfunction on a switch.

The two recent incidents are few and far between. Wisconsin reported seven train derailments for all of last year -- and an average of 15 over the past five years.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)