Coal train derails, loses PRB product

ABOUT 1600 tons of Powder River Basin coal bound for St Louis was lost when 22 cars of a 130-car BNSF coal train derailed in Iowa late last week.

Donna Schmidt

Only six of the derailed cars remained upright following the accident, according to local newspaper the Hawkeye. The remaining 16, each carrying about 100 tons, overturned and spilled during the early morning hours of Friday.

No injuries were reported, and crews anticipated having the spill cleaned up and reopening the affected line section and crossing in Fort Madison, Iowa, by the following day, the paper said.

BNSF spokesperson Steve Forsberg told the media outlet the product that was not spilled would be able to move on to be delivered and that the spilled coal would be disposed of. “Certainly, a utility doesn’t want to attempt to burn coal that’s been contaminated with dirt and other things in its incinerators,” he said.

An investigation into the cause of the derailment has commenced. An estimate of damage, Forsberg said, was not available.