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Cascade(slash)Coast Starlight Disruptions - Derailment

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  • Cascade(slash)Coast Starlight Disruptions - Derailment

    A maintenance train rear-ended a freight train early Sunday near this Lewis County community, closing the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe main line between Seattle and Portland for more than 24 hours.

    Amtrak, which carries about 1,700 passengers on that route daily, was busing passengers around the bottleneck.

    Two crew members on the maintenance train were treated for minor injuries at the site, said Gus Melonas of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe. No one was injured on the other train.

    A total of 50 trains use the line each day, including eight Amtrak trains, said Melonas of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe.

    The line was expected to remain closed until at least 10 a.m. today, he said.

    The maintenance train was traveling from Vancouver, Wash., to Bellingham with a load of railroad rock when the accident happened about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. The freight train was carrying empty containers from Portland to Tacoma.

    Two locomotives and 20 cars on the maintenance train derailed, as did two cars from the lead train, Melonas said.

    "The cars are in an accordion position at various angles," he said Sunday.

    He said some of the cars would be put back on the tracks, while others would be pushed to the side for further repair. Crews also fixed the damaged track and cleaned up a diesel fuel spill that Melonas described as minor.

    Officials were investigating the cause of the accident, Melonas said.

    Amtrak has two services that use the line, Amtrak spokeswoman Elizabeth O'Donoghue said. The Cascade service goes from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Eugene, Ore., and the Coast Starlight service goes from Los Angeles to Seattle.

    Cascade passengers were being bused between Seattle and Portland, but trains were running normally north of Seattle and south of Portland, O'Donoghue said.

    Coast Starlight passengers were traveling by bus between Seattle and Eugene, Ore.

    Melonas said a minimal amount of car traffic was also detoured.
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