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Archive for Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Derailment spurs bridge collapse

March 30, 2004

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— Crews worked Monday to pull 40 cars from a freight train out of a creek near this town northwest of Topeka.

Forty of the coal train's 137 cars derailed Sunday, causing a bridge to collapse, but no one was injured.

The Union Pacific train was traveling from Wyoming to St. Louis when the cars derailed about 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Workers were cleaning up piles of coal and some railcars stacked on top of each other in Soldier Creek about four miles north of Silver Lake, railroad spokesman Mark Davis said.

The locomotives did not derail and neither of the crewmen -- an engineer and a conductor -- were injured, Davis said.

The West Grove bridge collapsed after the engine carrying the crew cleared the bridge, said Sgt. Brad Metz of the Shawnee County sheriff's office.

Davis said crews worked Monday to pull railcars from the creek. Part of the creek will be filled with rock to support the track. Union Pacific plans to have a temporary bypass track open by Wednesday.

Davis said the weekend's rainfall could have been a factor in the accident. Investigators will review information from the locomotives' event recorder and examine track and wrecked cars to determine a specific cause. Davis said the bridge collapsed as a result of the derailment.

Hazardous materials teams were called to the scene but no hazardous materials were involved, fire officials said.

Union Pacific trains were diverted to other tracks. Davis said about 40 trains crossed the 280-foot West Grove Bridge every day, most carrying coal out of southeast Wyoming mines to utilities in the south and east.

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