Follow us on Twitter

SAN ANTONIO, NM – A BNSF train derailed about 9 miles south of San Antonio in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge on July 27, 2010. The derailment occurred at the southern end of the refuge about 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

Twisted wreckage of BNSF train derailment near San Antonio, NM on July 27, 2010.

San Antonio is in Socorro County New Mexico in the central part of the state about 11 miles south of Socorro, about 87 miles southwest of Albuquerque, about 149 miles southwest of Santa Fe, about 154 miles northwest of Roswell, about 122 miles northwest of Alamogordo, about 137 miles south of Las Cruces and about 268 miles southeast of Farmington.

Nineteen cars were derailed in the mishap, some of them flipping over onto their sides. The 95-car train was hauling mixed freight and was traveling about 48 or 49 mph at the time of the accident.

The official cause of the derailment has not been determined and remains under investigation, but it appears that a trestle collapse was the cause of the accident. The trestle in the area was a wooden bridge.

An engineer and a conductor were in the lead locomotive and made it safely over the trestle, but two locomotives behind them didn’t.

Location of the BNSF train derailment in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

The number of cars was not confirmed, but there were a couple of 10,000-gallon oil tankers involved. One of the tanker cars contained some kind of thick petroleum oil and another tanker car was carrying what was believed to be diesel fuel.

No injuries were reported, but thousands of gallons of a dangerous chemical were found to be leaking as a result of the derailment. Three cars were leaking a fuel oil mix. Some petroleum product spilled into an arroyo and crossed Highway 1 then began to move eastward toward the refuge’s wetlands. Some of the oil crossed the road and some was absorbed into the soil.

As soon as it was discovered that toxic material was spilling onto the fragile Wildlife refuge, the State Police and the railroad company took over city crews to contain the spill.

The priority was to keep the spill from reaching streams and marshlands where sandhill cranes spend the winter in the area. Crews responded quickly and built earth berms to contain the oil.

The spilled oil was contained and isn’t threatening the wildlife, but the cleanup could take some time. The railroad company would be responsible for all cleanup costs.

An article at the KOAT website in Albuquerque, said that the company is committed to cleaning up the mess. Joe Faust, a BNSF spokesman, said “We have an environmental remediation team that is there as well. So there certainly will be tests – soil tests, air tests, air quality tests and the like.”

Faust couldn’t say how old the trestle was.

The mainline track would be closed until the wreckage is removed and the track is deemed to be safe.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

Comments are closed.

Search Blog
Social Portals
My Zimbio