UPDATE: Rail Traffic Resumes After Derailment Near Madras

Freight trains were once again rumbling through the High Desert on Wednesday, two days after a derailment near Madras closed the tracks.

BNSF Spokesman Gus Melonas said crews worked overnight laying new track, with the first train coming through the area at 11:54 a.m.

Five locomotives and one rail car derailed about 2:30 a.m. Monday after hitting a couple of large boulders that fell onto the tracks. A punctured fuel tank in one of the locomotives led to at 4,000-gallon fuel leak. The 80-car train remained upright throughout the incident.

DEQ and EPA concluded on-site spill response activities last night after crews removed about 275 yards of contaminated soil and collected soil samples to assess the extent of remaining contamination in the surrounding area.

Melonas said the soil impacted by the fuel spill was collected and will be sent to a special landfill. Geo-techs were keeping an eye on the rocks around the surrounding bluffs to avoid a repeat of the rock slide Monday.

DEQ expects soil sample results next week, and will monitor and coordinate ongoing cleanup activities at the site if needed. Find information about ongoing activities in DEQ’s Environmental Cleanup Site Information database: https://go.usa.gov/xVaqW

DEQ, EPA and BNSF coordinated with representatives from the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Water Resources Department, and U.S. Bureau of Land Management on the spill response and cleanup.

UPDATE: Agencies Cleaning Up Diesel Spill after Train Derailment

State and federal environmental quality agencies and BNSF on Monday were cleaning up a diesel spill caused by a freight train derailment near Madras.

Five train engines and one railcar carrying vehicles derailed about a mile from the BLM’s Trout Creek Campground along the Deschutes River. Responders reported it appeared only one engine’s fuel tank – about 4,000 gallons – was punctured and released fuel.

courtesy Oregon DEQ

Officials with the Oregon DEQ and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a release that the fuel has not reached Trout Creek, but as a precaution, first responders have deployed absorbent boom to capture any diesel in case it were to reach the creek. Trout Creek is a tributary of the Deschutes River.

The BNSF train derailed overnight Monday after two boulders, including one “the size of a VW” tumbled down a 100-foot cliff onto the tracks.

Gus Melonas, with BNSF, said wheels of five locomotives and one rail car came off the tracks but remained upright.

He said the train came to an emergency stop about 2:30 a.m. near Gateway, north of Madras.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Aldred had to cross a creek and hike up a hill to make contact with the crew. When he arrived, he said he saw the track was broken and part of the concrete ties were gone. 

“The (crew) was happy it did not fall down the side of the hill after hitting the rocks because it launched then in the air a bit,” Aldred said in his report.

Crews are on the scene working to lift the cars off the tracks.

The train was carrying 11 loaded cars with general merchandise and 64 empty cars from Bakersfield, Calif. to Pasco, Wash. No one was injured.

The tracks are expected to be closed for the day.

File photo courtesy BNSF

 

 

 

 

Injuries and Casualties Reported After Amtrak Train Derailment Next to Interstate 5 Near Olympia, Washington

Last Updated: Dec 19, 12:40 p.m.

Deaths Confirmed in Amtrak Derailment

Three people are confirmed dead after a train derailed on Monday morning near Olympia, Washington. The train was on its inaugural run out of a new station in Tacoma and took a turn too fast, causing 13 of the trains 14 cars to detail, some falling off an overpass on to busy south Interstate 5 just outside DuPont, Washington.

No motorists were killed but at least 50 people were reported injured and sent to area hospitals.

As of 6 p.m. Monday night officials in Washington reported that some of the train cars were still not safe enough for rescuers to search but they could confirm there are no passengers alive in those cars. Rescuers expect more casualties to be found once those cars can be safely searched.

The train was traveling between Seattle and Portland with 77 passengers and seven crew aboard.

Prior to the derailment on Monday officials had expressed concerns about commuter trains along that route traveling at 80 mph, faster than trains have generally run on that particular stretch of track.

The incident is currently being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Investigators are looking to recover the train’s data recorder, similar to a planes black box, in order to gain more insight on what happened prior to the derailment. It will likely be weeks, if not months, before the investigation yields any answers.

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At Least Seven Cars Derailed on New Amtrak Cascades Inaugural Run

A passenger onboard Amtrak Cascades Train 501 says at least seven cars derailed in DuPont, Washington Monday morning around 7:40am.
Chris Karnes tells CBS News the emergency doors were not functioning correctly, so some surviving passengers had to kick out the train’s windows to exit.
Amtrak confirms at least 78 passengers and 5 crew members were onboard the train when it derailed at an overpass above Interstate 5 in Pierce County, Washington, crushing some of the cars and trucks on the freeway.
Emergency responders say there are fatalities onboard the train.

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A passenger onboard Amtrak Cascades Train 501 says at least seven cars derailed in DuPont, Washington Monday morning around 7:40am.

Chris Karnes tells CBS News the emergency doors were not functioning correctly, so some surviving passengers has to kick out the train’s windows to exit. Amtrak confirms at least 78 passengers and 5 crew members were on board the train when it derailed at an overpass above Interstate 5 in Pierce County, Washington, crushing some of the cars and trucks on the freeway. Emergency responders say there are fatalities on board the train. 

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The new Amtrak Cascades train between Seattle and Portland was making its inaugural run this morning when it derailed around 7:40 a.m., next to Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington. Early reports from the scene indicate there are fatal casualties inside the train, but there are also reports that some survivors were able to walk away from the wreckage. The train involved was Train Number 501 on the Amtrak schedule.

As of 9:20 a.m. on Monday, southbound Interstate 5 is shut down near Olympia and is expected to be closed for some time.

 

The Great Outdoors: Mosier Train Derailment

It’s been almost a year since an oil train derailed and exploded in the town of Mosier, threatening not only the residents, but also the nearby Columbia River.

For our Great Outdoors segment this week, sponsored by Camp Abbot Trading Co., Brian Jennings takes us back to Mosier for a look at the lessons learned one year after the derailment.

Train Derailment Training in Bend

It’s the kind of disaster that no one thinks will happen in their city, but first responders have to be ready. When an oil train derailed in the small town of Mosier, Oregon last year, it was a wake-up call to communities across Oregon, where crude oil is shipped, including Bend.

As Curtis Vogel reports, members of Shell oil company and Burlington Norther Santa Fe Railway were in Bend this week to train Bend Fire and Rescue firefighters on how to deal with the worst-case scenario.