Derailment upsets UP coal cars between Valley, Fremont

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VALLEY, Neb. (WOWT) -- A string of rail cars jumped the tracks between Valley and Fremont Tuesday spilling coal along the way.

No injuries were reported.

Union Pacific Railroad said 23 cars full of coal heading to Sioux City derailed around 6:30 Tuesday morning.

It happened in front of a business just northwest of Reichmuth Road and Pawnee Road, causing Reichmuth Road from Highway 36 northwest to Morningside Road in Fremont to be closed, according to a Tuesday afternoon release from Douglas County Engineer Tom Doyle.

For safety reasons, Highway 275 was expected to be closed for a period of time to get the cars upright and to clear the spilled coal. Heavy machinery was brought in for the cleanup. The timetable for the shutdown was not immediately clear.

The train was 144 cars long; each car was loaded with coal.

Union Pacific investigators will look at the tracks after clearing up the mess to determine what went wrong.

"At this point, we are looking at all of the pieces at the site and as we clear the area, we're looking for clues that can tell us what may have contributed to this accident," said Raquel Espinoza, spokesperson for Union Pacific.

Espinoza also said a special team will be arriving to clean up the coal and remove it from the site of the derailment.

Investigators are also checking the condition of the rails to see if there is a structural problem with the tracks.

The train was traveling from Wyoming to Sioux City, Iowa.

The train derailment temporarily put some people out of work due to its location.

Heath Wuebben encountered the wreck on his way to work at Nebraska Turf Products Tuesday morning.

"I couldn't believe what I saw. I've never seen anything like that before, at least in person," he said.

The train derailment sat between Wuebben and his job.

"If those tracks are closed down, there's no way of me getting across. So, unfortunately as of today, I'm out of work. Possibly tomorrow. I'm hoping by Thursday we'll be able to get across," he said.

The train also stopped deliveries from making it to the turf company, hurting business.

Train Derailment