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Bourbonnais Recognizes 25th Year of Amtrak Derailment

Bourbonnais, IL – Darkness engulfed the frozen landscape of the northern edge of Bourbonnais on the evening of Monday, March 15, 1999, when the Amtrak train, The City of New Orleans, headed southbound from Chicago and collided at the McKnight Road railroad crossing with a semitrailer loaded with 22 tons of steel.
The City of New Orleans - a train of two locomotives, one baggage car, 11 passenger cars and two sleeper cars, was carrying 198 passengers, an Amtrak crew of 17, two off-duty Amtrak employees and two off-duty Illinois Central Railroad employees when it struck the loaded flatbed at 9:48 p.m.The tragic accident resulted in the deaths of 11 passengers and 122 seriously injured on that fateful night.

Mayor Paul Schore will deliver brief remarks Friday, March 15, at 1:00 p.m., honoring the 25-year anniversary of the Amtrak derailment which brought together Bourbonnais and the entire Kankakee River Valley. The intimate outdoor ceremony will be held at the Memorial Garden located at 131 S. Main St. Mayor Schore will be joined by Bourbonnais Police and the Bourbonnais Fire Protection District.

“We continue to mourn the unfortunate loss of life that occurred here 25 years ago,” expressed Mayor Paul Schore,” and we continue to recognize the heroism and selflessness displayed here on that tragic evening.”

“With each passing year, we want these memories to continue to live on no matter where in the world the victims, their families and local heroes may now reside. We invite all to build lasting connections through the 1999 Amtrak Memorial website.”
The public is invited to visit Memorial Garden to pay their respects locally and to visit the memorial website at to share their stories, memories, photos and more, with others who were also impacted by the event that shook Bourbonnais and its surrounding communities to their core.

Two memorial plaques were presented on March 25, 2000, and are displayed at the Memorial Garden. One plaque recognizes the evening of March 15, 1999, and the names of the 11 passengers who lost their lives. The second plaque contains the 2000 Mayor’s Humanitarian Award honoring those within our community whose actions were nothing short of heroic.

To learn more about the Village of Bourbonnais and upcoming events, visit

Media Contact:
Lindy Casey
Marketing & Public Engagement Manager
Village of Bourbonnais
600 Main St. NW
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
(815) 802-5325

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