Officials reinstall derailed trains near Yakima, clean spill

Train Derailment
A train tipped over after colliding with a semi-truck in Mabton, Washington (Photo by Neil Fischer, KAPP/KVEW).

MABTON, Wash. (AP) — Three locomotives that tipped over in a train derailment last week near Mabton, Washington are now upright and the track is open for operations, a BNSF spokeswoman said.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports work continues to re-rail the other eight derailed cars and clean up spilled fuel, spokeswoman Courtney Wallace said.

“All three locomotives are upright and have been staged by our tracks,” she said. “Environmental cleanup efforts with responders from BNSF and the Washington State Department of Ecology are also underway.”

A semi-truck hauling farm equipment collided with the 116-car train near State Route 22 and Phillips Road on Dec. 23, causing three locomotives and eight empty grain containers to derail.

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Rail tracks were damaged and diesel fuel from the locomotives spilled. No one was seriously injured. Work began immediately to restore the track and clean up the fuel.

About 6,000 gallons of fuel were pumped from the locomotives and work is now underway to clean the more than 3,000 gallons of fuel that leaked into the soil, Wallace said. BSNF is working with the state Department of Ecology to remove the spilled fuel from soil as it continues to remove the other tipped rail cars.

Some contaminated soil already has been removed and stockpiled, said Ecology spokeswoman Joye Redfield-Wilder. Soil will have to be dug out and replaced with clean soil, she said.

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