Saturday, June 14, 2008

Derailments happen but no one addressed the possibility mentioned by the Town Branch neighbors when the Hill Place student-apartment PZD was approved

No one injured, no hazardous material released in 11-car train derailment
BY KATE WARD Northwest Arkansas Times
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2008

Derailment in Brentwood in NWAT

BRENTWOOD — Arkansas & Missouri Railroad crews worked all day Friday to realign 11 cars that were derailed from a portion of railroad track near Brentwood, in southern Washington County.
According to Railroad Chief Ron Sparks, the derailment happened at about 9: 40 p. m. Thursday. The southbound freight train was traveling 35 miles-perhour, carrying a conductor and an engineer, when 11 cars derailed. No one was injured.
“ Seven of the cars were empty and four of them were loaded with general commodities, ” Sparks said. “ There were no hazardous materials released into the environment — that’s the most important thing for people to know. ”
Sparks wouldn’t identify the specific contents of the train due to customer confidentiality agreements.
Railroad crews worked through Thursday night and until dark Friday trying to realign the cars.
“ We’re busy recovering what we can and putting the cars and the track back together, ” he said. “ Derailments happen on a weekly basis, but ones of this magnitude happen about every two years. ”
The cause of the derailment has not been determined, but Sparks said the circumstances don’t appear suspicious.
Washington County Emergency Management Director John Luther said area response agencies worked together during response efforts Thursday night.
Responding agencies included: the Boston Mountain Fire Department, the Washington County Emergency Management Agency, Washington County Haz-Mat, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayetteville Fire Department, Springdale Firefighters and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
“ It was a real good cooperative effort, ” Luther said. “ It was hard to get to, but everyone worked well and shared information. Once everything was stabilized, it was left in the hands of the railroad authorities. ”
Sparks said railroad crews are well equipped to handle all types of derailments.
“ The railroad industry is very durable, ” he said, “ These kind of incidents could cripple an industry, but the railroads deal with them on a daily basis. We have the manpower and the equipment to handle it. ”
Freight between Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas, he added, won’t be dispatched until Monday.
Luther said the Washington County Sheriff’s Office is currently working in conjunction with the Washington County Emergency Management Agency to form a class geared toward train accident response. “ We’ve had a couple train accidents over the last month or two and now we’ve had another one, ” he said. “ We recognize that it’s something we don’t often deal with, so we got with the proper authorities to get something on the books so our people are better prepared to deal with it. ”
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