Railroad says train cars to be removed
The wrecked remains of a 12-car Union-Pacific Railroad train derailment near Donner Summit are expected to be cleaned up in the next two weeks, according to company officials.
The April 22 derailment occurred when turbulence from lateral and vertical forces pulled one of the cars off track and laid it down on the ties, according to Union-Pacific spokesman John Bromley.
“It acts like an accordian,” he said, explaining the forces of a fully loaded train being pulled uphill, west toward Donner Summit. “When a wheel is pulled off the track, then you have trouble.”
According to Bromley, all 12 “hopper” cars were carrying corn. The derailment occurred several miles west of Donner Lake inside a snow shed. Damage to the snowshed hampered access to work crews – the line was shut down for two days and two hours while the four most severely damaged cars were cut up and carted away in “gondola” cars, he said.
“Initially, it was very hard to get in there,” he said. “Work crews had to come in on rails.”
The remaining eight cars were removed to the south side of the tracks, where they still remain.
“Our first priority when something like this happens is to open the track,” Bromley said. Part of clean up will include removing the tons of corn cargo.
During the closure, Amtrak passengers were diverted from Sparks to Oakland via bus. Other Union-Pacific cargo trains were diverted to alternate routes.
Bromley said Union-Pacific moves approximately 15 cargo trains a day over the line that runs through Truckee. Amtrak picks up an average of eight Truckee passengers a day. On average, 900 people per day travel via Amtrak’s Zephyr California between Chicago and Emeryville, Calif. The trip takes 52 hours with California stops in Truckee, Colfax, and Roseville on the way to the Bay Area.
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