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.

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