Train derails in Wayzata; no one hurtby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio,
Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Workers are cleaning up coal and train cars that capsized in a derailment in the Twin Cities suburb of Wayzata.
Authorities with Burlington Northern Santa Fe say 17 train cars hauling coal went off the track at about 9:30 a.m. No injuries were reported, but the incident caused automobile traffic to be re-routed and a piece of track to fly through the window of an office building.
City Manager Allen Orsen says when a couple of cars went off track, the front engine continued to pull the 100-car train for about 1,000 feet before stopping. Meanwhile, the back engine continued to push, causing some of the cars to tip over, or derail, and pile up like an accordion.
Orsen says most of the coal didn't spill.
"There's three to five cars tipped over where there's coal spilled. There's coal spilled on Ferndale crossing, but we've cleaned it up to get it opened up for traffic," Orsen said.
Orsen said police and fire personnel are cordoning off the areas and redirecting traffic. Cleanup is expected to be finished within 48 hours.
Wayzata Police Chief Mike Risvold said the accident could have been much worse.
"Nobody was hurt, none of the rail cars contained hazardous material of any kind, we're also fortunate for that. If there's a 'simple' train derailment, this was it, with just coal cars, and nobody hurt," Risvold said.
Risvold said the area would be cleaned up within 24 hours, and trains would hopefully run again within 48 hours.
Risvold said he was unaware of any previous train derailments in the town's history.
Wayzata Fire Chief Kevin Klapprich said the office building alongside the train tracks did sustain some damage.
"It sounds like one of the rails went through the window into an office where a lady was working. She wasn't hurt, a little shaken, but not hurt," he said. "But as far as damage to the building, it's just minor structure stuff
Klapprich says it's mostly just glass that broke. He says if the train had derailed just a block further east, where office buildings sit closer to the tracks, the damage likely could've been worse.
Up to 11 trains a day pass through Wayzata a day on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway line.
The cause of the derailment has not been determined.
Laura Yuen is a general assignment reporter covering the Twin Cities as part of MPR News' metro unit.