Monday, July 30, 2012
Hot railroad tracks may have caused the derailment of a Union Pacific train passing through Kansas Sunday afternoon in Saline County about six miles west of Salina.
The 106-car train was traveling from Denver to Kentucky when it derailed. Twenty-seven of the cars, which were filled with coal, left the track along Highway 140 west of Salina.
Adriena Rodriguez, 13, lives across the highway from where the derailment happened. The eighth grader says she was watching television when she heard a loud noise outside.
"I just all of a sudden heard this loud crash and I looked outside the window and said, 'Oh my gosh, Mom, the train is tipping over,'" said Rodriguez. "It was kind of cool because it was like a domino effect just tipping over."
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis says weather extremes are always suspects in derailments, whether it's extreme heat or cold. He says track inspectors will sometimes add or remove portions of rail during extreme temperatures to allow for expansion or contraction of the metal.
"Metal likes to expand during extreme heat, likes to shrink when it gets colder," said Davis. "It's a cycle our professionals do with the track year in and year out."
Davis says six trains pass daily between Denver and Kansas City. Those trains are now being rerouted through Nebraska until the derailed train can be cleared. Clean up is expected to be completed by Tuesday.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Railroad crews are working to clean up quite a mess after a train derailed in Saline County and lost part of its load. It happened just after 2:30 p.m. Sunday about six miles west of Salina at the intersection of Highway 140 and Cloud Street.
The Union Pacific train was made up of three engines and 109 cars. It was hauling a large amount of coal.
Officials say approximately 25 cars derailed and dumped their loads of coal. Sparks from the derailment started a small grass fire that burned about two acres. No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged.
Investigators say the derailment was likely caused by heat. They believe the prolonged triple-digit temperatures caused the tracks to expand and warp.
Crews are working to clean up the pile of coal. Officials say the train happened to separate at the intersection so vehicle traffic in the area has not been affected.