BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Burlington Northern Santa Fe crews were on the scene of a multi-car derailment in Lee County Monday morning.
The derailment occurred south of Fort Madison about 1/4 mile east of the overpass near the Lee County Sheriff’s Department just off Highway 61 northbound lanes.
About a dozen BNSF vehicle were on the scene at about 1:30 p.m. on Monday and BNSF security had cordoned off the site. A security officer on scene said he didn’t know what caused the derailment and referred all inquiries to the media relations on the BNSF website. He said he had been called to the scene prior to noon.
Andy Williams, BNSF’s Director of Media Affairs for Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Nebraska, said the derailment occurred at about 11:25 a.m. but said it was an eastbound Union Pacific train so he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the cargo or any injuries.
“We contract with a heavy equipment operator Hoelscher Trucking out of St. Louis,” he said. “They should be on the scene shortly and they are very capable.”
Williams also said some train traffic is being rerouted and some trains that aren’t time-sensitive are being held.
No cargo containers appeared to have tipped over in the derailment, but several CSX and CR England cargo containers were off the rails and pointed eastward down on the north side of the tracks.
Kristen South, Regional Media Director for Union Pacific said no injuries were sustained as a result of the derailment and no cargo was spilled. South said the train was an eastbound train originating from California and was on it’s way to Chicago. She said UP officials are still investigating the cause of the derailment as well, but no information was available.