Grinder Derailment, Donner Route

Discussion in 'Union Pacific Railroad' started by Birken Vogt, Nov 9, 2006.

  1. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt TrainBoard Member

    As we speak there is a big wreck at MP 162.2, lots of bad news coming over the fire radio. Listen to CDF 151.325 MHz

    Birken
     
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Uh-oh!
    Donner Pass is on fire?
     
  3. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    heres some news...

    Note, this article has some facts different from what I saw on TV. Fire was out as of sundown...


    One Dead, Several Injured In Derailment Of Rail Grinder Train
    BAXTER, CA -- One person died and several others were injured Thursday after a train maintaining railroad tracks in the mountains east of Sacramento derailed.
    The derailment also sparked a fire in the heavily forested area. The train was loaded with thousands of gallons of diesel and hydraulic fuel, and television reports showed thick, black smoke billowing from the scene.
    Three or four train cars lay in a zigzag pattern beside the tracks.
    Authorities confirmed one dead and six to eight people injured, sheriff's Lt. George Malim said. Two people were missing and presumed trapped in the wreckage.
    The Union Pacific maintenance train was working on the tracks about 50 miles east of the state capital when it derailed about 11:00. It was carrying 6,000 gallons of hydraulic fuel and 1,500 gallons of diesel, said Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
    She said a brush fire that broke out shortly after the derailment was contained, but the fuel was continuing to burn.
    The train consisted of a locomotive and eight cars - two for the crew, one for water and five containing parts of what is called a grinding machine, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said.
    Four crew members, one other Union Pacific employee and 11 contract workers were aboard. He confirmed that two people were missing but did not know whether they were railroad employees or contract workers. He said the contractors were employed by Harsco Track Technologies of South Carolina.
    The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
    "Don't know the cause - that is under investigation," Davis said.
    The last fatal derailment of a Union Pacific train in California was in December 2004, when two freight trains collided head-on in Niland, east of San Diego. The crash killed one of the conductors and left a mess of derailed rail cars, locomotives and freight in the Southern California desert. In April, six cars from a 100-car Union Pacific freight train derailed in Olivehurst, about 40 miles north of Sacramento. Only the conductor and engineer were on board at the time, and neither was hurt. - Don Thompson, The Associated Press, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, courtesy Coleman Randall, Jr
     
  4. CHARGER

    CHARGER TrainBoard Member

  5. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Second Body Recovered From Sierra Grinder Train Derailment
    BAXTER, CA -- Authorities on Friday found the body of a missing railway worker buried beneath the smoldering wreckage of a Union Pacific train that derailed in the Sierra Nevada a day earlier.
    The discovery brings the death toll from Thursday's crash to two, ranking it among the deadliest Union Pacific accidents in California in recent years. Eight other workers were aboard the train but were not seriously injured.
    Investigators said it would take until Monday to positively identify the dead workers.
    "We're having trouble with identification because of the condition of the bodies. One was in a burned out car and one was in the wreckage," Placer County Sheriff's Lt. Chal DeCecco said Friday. "We're going to have to do dental records on one person, and we may be able to do fingerprinting on the second person."
    The derailment in the Sierra Nevada about 60 miles east of Sacramento also spilled thousands of gallons of fuel near thick forest and sparked a fire that sent plumes of dense, black smoke into the air.
    Crews cleared one track overnight, allowing limited train service along the heavily traveled east-west route. Officials said they hoped to have the second line open by Friday evening.
    "They're going to have to replace 1,400 feet of track that was damaged in the derailment," Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Mark Davis said Friday.
    He expected trains to be running normally by the end of the weekend.
    The cause of the derailment was under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.
    The train's crew _ which included one Union Pacific employee and nine contract workers _ was working on the tracks about two miles south of Interstate 80 near Baxter when six of the 10 rail cars derailed around 11 a.m. The train was carrying 11,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 6,000 gallons of hydraulic fluid, acetylene, oxygen and propane.
    "This is a huge spill," said Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "That is a lot of hazardous materials."
    The fire was quickly contained, and flames were completely extinguished by 19:30, but the heated steel kept rescuers at bay for hours, Ausnow said.
    The contract workers were employed by Harsco Track Technologies of South Carolina. Company spokesman Ken Julian did not immediately have information about injured employees or the fatality.
    Freight and passenger traffic is heavy on the Sierra corridor, with 17 trains a day using the section of track that was damaged during the derailment.
    Two Amtrak trains were affected Thursday, said Vernae Graham, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Oakland. An eastbound train was forced to stop in Sacramento and a westbound train stopped in Sparks, Nevada, disrupting about 259 Amtrak passengers who were taken across the Sierra on buses.
    The last fatal derailment of a Union Pacific train in California was in December 2004, when two freight trains collided head-on in Niland, east of San Diego. The crash killed one of the conductors and left a mess of derailed rail cars, locomotives and freight in the Southern California desert.
    In April, six cars from a 100-car Union Pacific freight train derailed in Olivehurst, about 40 miles north of Sacramento. Only the conductor and engineer were on board at the time, and neither was hurt.
    To view photos of the Sierra Grinder Train derailment, click on the following link to a gallery of pictures taken at the scene:
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/galleries/318.html?SITE=UTSAC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT - Don Thompson, The Associated Press, The Reno Gazette-Journal, courtesy Coleman Randall, Jr
     
  6. John Barnhill

    John Barnhill TrainBoard Member

    Rail Grinder Crew Tried Brakes Before Derailment
    BAXTER, CA -- Crew members aboard a runaway train carrying rail equipment tried frantically to slam on the brakes as the locomotive barreled down a steep Sierra Nevada slope and derailed, investigators said Friday.
    The bodies of two crew members were recovered Friday from the smoldering wreckage of Thursday's derailment, which spilled thousands of gallons of fuel near a thick forest and sparked a large fire. Eight other crew members aboard the maintenance train suffered minor injuries.
    Survivors told authorities that the men who died had been working together to apply the brakes when the train ran off the tracks in a ravine about 60 miles east of Sacramento.
    The emergency brake slowed the locomotive only slightly before the train's supervisor _ in a final, desperate move _ threw it into reverse, said Dave Watson, lead investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
    The train kept rolling and gathering speed, eventually hitting a curve at about 50 mph _ twice the recommended speed for that stretch of tracks.
    "This was a runaway train," said Watson, who spent Friday interviewing crew members.
    "They were pretty much shook up. They were heart-broke," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
    Watson said the stretch of track leading to the crash site is one of the steepest in the country, running straight before it curves where six of the train's 10 cars derailed.
    Investigators have come close to ruling out the possibility of faulty tracks at the crash site, he said. The agency is focusing instead on the speed of the train.
    On Sunday, investigators planned to comb through two locomotives and two other cars from the accident to find the train's so-called events recorder, similar to a jetliner's black box.
    Sheriff's Lt. Chal DeCecco, spokesman for the agencies at the scene, said crew members told investigators the train was passing through a tunnel when they noticed something amiss and tried to slow down about three miles before the crash site.
    DeCecco said it would take until Monday to positively identify the dead workers. One body was recovered from a burned-out train car, while the other was underneath the tangle of fire-charred steel.
    "It's just a tragedy," said Ken Julian, spokesman for Harsco Track Technologies, the South Carolina-based contractor that employed the victims and all but one of the other crew members. "We're going to do everything we can to support the families and get to the bottom of the cause."
    Harsco owns the train, which was transporting a piece of maintenance equipment called a grinding machine under a contract with the Union Pacific Railroad. The lone Union Pacific employee aboard the train was the conductor.
    The maintenance train's purpose is to smooth out worn-down sections of track. It was likened to a "rolling mechanic's shop," with a tanker carrying diesel fuel for the locomotive and the other rail cars carrying equipment and drums filled with an assortment of fuels and fluids.
    Cleanup crews were clearing the tracks Friday, and the railroad hoped to restore full service on the busy east-west corridor over the weekend. A 600-foot section of track will have to be replaced, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Fish and Game also were on the scene, trying to keep spilled fuel from running into a tributary of the north fork of the American River. - Don Thompson and Robin Hindery, The Associated Press, The Casper Star-Tribune
     
  7. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt TrainBoard Member

    For the record, parts of the train that derailed are parked right next to the fence at Roseville. You can pull your car off and park on the public street right next to them. There is a bunkhouse car, I think, that has some minor damage to it, two locomotives, and a tank car with some damage to the insulation, as well as other stuff.

    I would still be very interested if any info is forthcoming.

    Birken
     

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