Concerns regarding cleanup of a train derailment near Farley, Mo. in southwest Platte County have surfaced nearly three months after the initial accident. At least one local resident has expressed confusion about the train parts that remain on the side of the tracks along Highway 45 from the May 10 incident.
The six empty train cars and miscellaneous, wheel parts lay parallel to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail tracks along a creek at the intersection with Oberdiek Road, located just north of Farley. The wreckage is easily discernible from the open fields and far-off tree line that is the quiet community of Farley.
The concerned citizen called the metal-meets-grass scene a “Stonehenge of wreckage.”
BNSF director of public affairs Andy Williams said that the question about who should bear the blame for the rural eyesore is more complicated than residents may think.
“People believe that the railcars belong to the railroad, and that’s not accurate in most cases,” Williams said. “Bottom line is that those cars do not belong to us; they are customer cars.”
Williams said that BNSF and the car owners have been in negations to determine fault for the original derailment and which company is to pay for the cleanup. The multiple months of discussions have led to a deal, and residents should see contractors in the area starting Friday, Aug. 5.
Work to remove the cars is slated to last 10 days.
The contractors that remove the cars were set to arrive in Farley before August, Williams said, but a separate “high-priority wreck” forced the company to reschedule.
“We’ve made sure that the cars weren’t on anybody’s property but ours, made sure they aren’t a public safety hazard,” Williams said.
Contents from the six cars — a bounty of treated lumber — had littered the roadway during the derailment, which shut down lanes of traffic on Highway 45 for two days.
Unknown conditions caused six train cars to completely come unhinged from the tracks and one car to come slightly unhinged near the intersection of Highway 45 and Oberdiek Lane. Although train derailments tend to occur once every couple of years in Platte County, emergency personnel shut down Highway 45 from Farley Road to 45 Spur preparing for the worst.
Following a BNSF investigation and a swift response from the company’s cleanup team, the materials were shipped off the road. While the product from inside of the train cars had been transported away from the area within days, the cars themselves stayed behind.
By Wednesday, May 11, crews were able to reopen one lane of traffic and used a flagging operation to allow traffic to resume while the cleanup continued. After another brief lane reduction the following day, the road fully reopened.