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Helmut Schmidt, Published September 14 2009

Train derailment leaves mess near Casselton

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway crews were cleaning up after a 19-car derailment that blocked two lines of track about 3 miles west of Casselton, N.D., early Sunday, a BNSF spokesman and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department said.

The derailment occurred about 1:30 a.m. near County Road 10, Deputy Tim Briggeman wrote in a news release.

The 70-car train out of Pasco, Wash., was headed for a Minneapolis railyard, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said.

One of the main lines was opened at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, while the other line was expected to be back in operation about 1 a.m. today, Melonas said.

Melonas said the railroad had 75 people responding to the derailment, removing damaged railcars, repairing track and cleaning up the site.

There were no injuries reported and no hazardous-material threats, Melonas said. Workers were cleaning up zinc products, lumber, particle board and canned fruit carried by the cars that derailed, Melonas said.

Train traffic was rerouted to other lines, Melonas said, most of it to the New Rockford, N.D., line.

County Road 10 was closed Sunday at the crossing, Melonas said, adding that it should reopen about 3 a.m. today.

At the accident site, lumber lay in piles and several cars appeared moderately to heavily damaged.

The train had 70 cars, Melonas said. Twenty of the cars were empty, and the rest carried general merchandise.

BNSF will be responsible for the investigation of the derailment, Briggeman wrote.


Forum photographer Carrie Snyder contributed to this report

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583