WisDOT Secretary Thompson on site of train derailment near De Soto

Immediate focus on bridge safety after freight rail cars entered Mississippi River

​​​​​​​Release date: April 27, 2023

Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson is at the site of a train derailment today (April 27) near De Soto that sent part of a freight train into the Mississippi River along WIS 35.

“The immediate concern is the safety of all those involved and surrounding this incident," WisDOT Secretary Thompson said. “WisDOT is working diligently to ensure that traffic is diverted to safe roads and bridges while we thoroughly evaluate this event."

WisDOT staff were at the scene within minutes of the incident, which the freight rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) reported occurring around 12:15 p.m. today.

WisDOT staff tracked rail cars that floated downstream soon after the derailment and passed under the WIS 82/Lansing Causeway before becoming mired along shore. The WIS 82 bridge has been closed since Tuesday (April 25) due to high water and WisDOT will thoroughly inspect the structure for any possible damage.

Traffic on WIS 35 in this area is currently detoured via WIS 171, WIS 27 and WIS 82 as WisDOT works with partner agencies responding to the incident.

No fatalities were reported by local emergency response teams.

In addition to local and county authorities, WisDOT is coordinating with the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Emergency Management, BNSF, the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

For more information, contact:

WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-3581, opa.exec@dot.wi.gov