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APPLE CREEK, ND – On Saturday, July 10, 2010 a BNSF train derailed in North Dakota spilling tons of coal along the banks of Apple Creek.

Thirty one freight cars derail from an eastbound BNSF train near Apple Creek, ND

Apple Creek is in Burleigh County, North Dakota in the central part of the state about 10 miles southeast of Bismarck, about 15 miles southeast of Mandan, about 187 miles west of Fargo, about 246 miles southwest of Grand Forks and about 119 miles southeast of Minot.

In the incident, 31 freight cars were derailed, tipping 29 of them over onto their sides. Two of the derailed freight cars remained upright.

Sheriff’s Deputy Trent Wangen, from Burleigh County was quoted in an article at the Bismarck Tribune website. According to Wangen, “All the cars that derailed were coal cars.” He also said, “The engine did not leave the tracks.”

The derailment happened about 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon when a BNSF train, moving eastbound, derailed along the banks of Apple Creek. The location of the derailment was about a quarter of a mile west of the town of Apple Creek between 66th and 93rd streets just south of Apple Creek Road (Old Highway 10).

Location of 31 car BNSF train derailment near Apple Creek, ND on July 10, 2010.

Fortunately, no railroad emloyees were hurt and ther were no injuries in the mishap.

Local emergency crews responded to the derailment, including those from Burleigh Country Rural Fire Department.

According to Wangen, the site of the derailment was mostly farmland and pasture land. The closest home was about a quarter of a mile from the derailment site.

The derailment also caused a slow-spreading grass fire that spread across two acres on the south side of the track. Although access to the fire was difficult, it was quickly contained by firefighters.

In the Bismarck Tribune article, Wangen said that the site of the derailment is on the railroad’s main line and BNSF crews worked to clean up the site and to investigate the cause of the mishap. He also stated that the coal train was headed east but he did not know its exact destination.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

Below is a Google street view of the rail crossing at 93rd Street facing west towards the derailment site. The derailment temporarily blocked this crossing until the rail car was moved.

View Larger Map

Trucks and heavy equipment were called in to clear the tracks and to begin cleaning up the spilled coal.

Special equipment was brought in to do the job. Vehicles called side booms with hoists projecting from their sides had been retrofitted to lift a couple hundred tons. These side booms were originally designed for laying pipe and workers were using them to move the damaged cars and clear the tracks with them.

Cleanup is expected continue for several more days. Part of the cleanup effort is the removal of coal that fell into the water.

By Monday morning, July 12, 2010, freight trains resumed rolling again in the Apple Creek area. The rail line was opened around 4 a.m. Monday morning.

BNSF was either rerouting trains or holding back trains during the time that the track was being cleared. By Monday morning, some trains were still running behind schedule, although they were following their regular routes by then.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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