Adeliberately released hand brakesenta string of railroad cars crashing through barriers in a Saskatchewan village, police say.

Damages and the cost of removing the cars that derailed on Wednesday in Beechy is estimated to be "in the tens of thousands of dollars," the RCMP said.

According to the Mounties, the 16 cars picked up speed as they rolled downhill, then smashed through the stops and continued across the highway.

They came to rest in an elementary school parking lot less than five metres from the school building, which was empty at the time.

People in town were awakened by a loud bang.

"Quite a few people were down there looking," said Pat Erickson, who works at West Central Road and Rail. "Small town, Beechy, not a lot happening."

While no one was hurt, the highway was blocked and traffic had to be rerouted.

The police hope anyone with information about the case will give them a call.

Beechy is in the southwest part of the province, about 120 kilometres northeast of Swift Current.