HUDSON, Colo. (AP) – Crews were working Monday to clean up a stretch of railroad where a coal train jumped the tracks in eastern Colorado, spilling tons of coal.
The 120-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailed Sunday near the town of Hudson. At least 27 freight cars derailed and lost their cargo as the train was traveling from Gillette, Wyoming, in the coal-producing Powder River Basin to La Junta, Colorado, BNSF spokesman Joe Sloan said.
The railroad reopened the line connecting Denver to Brush at about 4:30 p.m. Monday. No BNSF freight trains have been re-routed, but two trains on Amtrak’s California Zephyr line had to be rerouted between Omaha and Denver through Cheyenne on Sunday evening and Monday morning. Monday evening’s eastbound service from Denver to Omaha was expected to return to its regular route, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said.
Both BNSF and federal regulators are investigating the derailment. Neither has speculated on a possible cause.
“Once completed, our investigation will identify the root cause of the accident, and we will take all appropriate enforcement actions,” the Federal Railroad Administration said in a statement.
BNSF is legally required to carry a variety of freight but, in general, it does not have to report the contents of its trains to regulators. However, it must notify the state if it plans to carry 1 million gallons or more of Bakken crude oil. BNSF has not signaled any intent to do so on this line or anywhere else in Colorado, said Greg Stasinos of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, co-chair of the state’s emergency planning commission.
Four trains hauling crude oil have derailed in the U.S. and Canada since mid-February, sometimes polluting water ways and igniting spectacular fires.
BNSF has been building additional track alongside the main track in the area as part of $140 million construction and improvement project statewide. Last year, ties on the Denver-Brush line were replaced, Sloan said.
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)