A train derailment near the intersection of Highway 45 and Oberdiek Lane in Farley, Mo. caused a stir in the normally quiet part of Platte County the evening of Tuesday, May 10.
The derailed Burlington North Santa Fe (BNSF) train cars were originally reported as carrying “timber and possible flammable materials” by multiple sources; however, upon arrival, officials from the Southern Platte Fire Protection District and the Platte County Sheriff’s Office found six to seven cars off the track that were exclusively carrying wood.
No injuries were reported, but the cleanup lasted about two days.
Around 7 p.m. Tuesday, unknown conditions caused six train cars to completely come unhinged from the tracks and one car to come slightly unhinged. 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.
“When we responded, we initiated the hazardous material team and upon arrival … (the train manifest) determined that there were no hazardous materials on this train,” South Platte Fire Protection District chief Richard Carrizzo said.
Platte County Sheriff’s Office personnel secured each of the intersections near the incident, including 45 and Main Street, 45 and Oberdiek Lane and 45 and Grass Pad Road.
Once the roads were closed and secure, BNSF officials began their investigation and cleanup, and fire and sheriff personnel were relieved of their post. The results of that investigation have yet to be finalized, though BNSF public affairs director Andy Williams believes that the incident was “standard” in the way of derailments.
Williams suggests that the hazardous materials confusion may have come from the presence of an empty tank car that the train was carrying.
“(The reason for derailment) can be a number of failures; anything from mechanical to a track issue to some sort of weather anomaly,” Williams said.
Each of BNSF’s 32,500 miles of tracks throughout 28 states is visually inspected for issues at least twice a week.
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.