Train derails near Lockhart
By LPR Staff
Early on Tuesday morning, a freight train bound from Denison, Texas, to Laredo jumped the tracks as it passed through rural Caldwell County.
According to Mark Davis with Union Pacific Railroad, 14 of the trains 113 rail cars were derailed, causing damage to nearly 600 feet of track northeast of Lockhart, near the interse
ction of FM 672 and County Road 179.
“We have had crews out there working all day,” Davis said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “We are going to have to remove the cars and replace about 600 feet of track, but we expect that we will have the line opened by late Tuesday night.”
Union Pacific trains have been involved in a long string of accidents in the area, including series of derailments in San Antonio last year, stemming from a variety of causes including equipment failures, rail breakage and human error. However, Davis could not comment as to the cause of Tuesday morning”s incident. He did confirm that no one was seriously injured, and that the train”s crew was transported to Central Texas Medical Center for minor medical attention and observation.
“We know that the train derailed at 2:43 a.m., and that the three-man crew on the train was transported to a local hospital to be checked out and immediately released,” he said. “However, we don”t know the cause of the derailment. In some cases, we know within hours – other times, it takes weeks or months. We”re still investigating.”
According to both Davis, the Caldwell County Sheriff”s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, no hazardous materials were spilled as a result of the derailment. Thirteen of the 14 derailed cars were carrying soda ash, an alkaline component used in toothpaste, soap products and the making of glass. The other car, according to Davis, was carrying “renderings,” or slaughterhouse byproducts.
“The train”s crew had to have their eyes flushed because of the soda ash,” Davis said. “It”s sort of like lime dust… It will hurt if it gets in your eyes, but it”s not hazardous.”
Because the only access to the derailment site was a private road, Union Pacific officials blocked ground-level access to the scene. Davis said the property-owner will be reimbursed for any damage done to the land by the railroad”s efforts to clean up the wreck.
Editor”s Note: Again, Teri Reed and I would like to offer hearty and heart-felt thanks to Cheryl Burrier, Martin & Martin Aviation, Keith Uhls and Bill Uhls for being our “Johnny-on-the-spot,” making an airplane available and getting us in the air within a matter of minutes.-kb