Lincoln County (Nevada) Sheriff's Department

No injuries reported after 33-car train derailment near Nevada-Utah border

By Jacob Klopfenstein | Posted - Jul. 11, 2019 at 4:53 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — Over 30 train cars hauling hundreds of motor vehicles derailed early Wednesday morning in a remote Nevada canyon near the Utah border.

The derailment took place about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday in Rainbow Canyon, about 70 miles west of St. George, according to Lincoln County, Nevada, Sheriff Kerry Lee. No injuries were reported.

About 33 train cars on a southbound Union Pacific train derailed in the narrow canyon, possibly as a result of rail failure due to huge temperature fluctuations, Lee said. The temperature can change as much as 50 degrees between day and night in that area, which may have buckled the rail causing the derailment, he said.

The train was carrying hazardous materials, including some flammable chemicals, but luckily the part that derailed did not contain anything hazardous, Lee said. The derailment occurred two cars away from cars containing hazardous materials on one end, and seven cars away on the other, he said.

“It was crazy,” he said.

Each of the cars that derailed was carrying about 10 brand new motor vehicles, Lee said.

Union Pacific officials were working to clear the rail line and hoped to get train traffic moving by Thursday evening, Lee added. However, it will likely be seven to 10 days before the entire area is cleared, he said. The railroad is moving cranes and other heavy equipment into the area to remove the debris, Lee said.

Some of the debris was blocking a county road in the canyon, which was closed after the derailment, Lee said. The road might be reopened by Thursday, but there will likely be some traffic restrictions in the area due to the cleanup effort, he said.


Jacob Klopfenstein

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