The regularly sold-out excursion was carrying 900 passengers back to Owosso from Ashley when the freight train derailment occurred along Cass Street between M-52 and Cedar Street in downtown Owosso.
It took less than an hour for first responders and community members to organize busses to meet the passenger train. Fifty busses from Owosso Public Schools, Shiawassee RESD and Indian Trails picked up the stranded passengers and transported them back to Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso.
The Shiawassee County Sheriff's Office, Great Lakes Central Railroad ("GLC") and Steam Railroading Institute ("SRI") are credited with moving quickly to organize the transportation, and numerous organizations and individuals are being credited with helping things happen efficiently. The busses rendezvoused with the North Pole Express, three miles from SRI, at the corner of Mason and Delaney roads.ABC 12
reported the freight train was 96 cars long and it was the 77th car that initially left the tracks. A reported ten total cars, most carrying corn or grain, called 'hoppers,' derailed, however, not all of them overturned. GLC President, Chris Bagwell, told the TV station that the timing is particularly inopportune as its the peak of the harvest season. An investigation continues into what caused the derailment. The freight train was headed to Canada.