As I crossed Conrail’s Clinton Secondary Track at Blissfield, Mich. on the way home from Toledo on 30 December 1982, I noticed a train on the track in the distance off to the southeast. As Conrail trains were already a rarity on this line, I was able to loop back and drive the short distance to Riga, Mich. This is what I found:

Derailment at Riga, MI on 30 December 1982

No crew members are around, and the Conrail local from Toledo to Lenawee Junction, MI is going no further today, having gone off the rails at the east switch of the Riga passing track.

Derailment at Riga, MI on 30 December 1982

The covered hopper is loaded, so this will be some hard work for the track crew to pick up.

Derailment at Riga, MI on 30 December 1982

It would appear the covered hopper picked the points on the switch, derailing its rear truck and taking the caboose with it.

Derailment at Riga, MI on 30 December 1982

The local, with only two revenue freight cars, appears a bit overpowered. Double-heading was very unusual for this line, but it’s likely that first an empty unit grain train was set off at the Michigan Elevator Exchange in Ottawa Lake, MI, with the power then continuing with the remaining cars for the Lenawee County Railroad at Lenawee Junction, MI.



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