Union Pacific cars derailed

Second derailment in recent weeks at Craig Station power plant


For the second time in two months, Union Pacific train cars leaving the Craig Station power plant derailed. The cars were all empty and no injuries were reported, officials said.

Officials are calling the incident, which occurred at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, a partial derailment. Three locomotives and four coal cars left the tracks.

"They did not turn over," said Jim Van Someren, a spokesman for Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the company that operates the Craig Station. "They just left the tracks, but are still standing upright."

This is the second derailment at the Craig Station in the past seven weeks. In early October, eight cars carrying coal derailed, closing the railway, damaging 100 to 200 feet of track, and sending five cars onto their sides.

Van Someren said he doesn't believe Saturday's incident had anything to do with the October derailment. An investigation into the October incident revealed that human error caused the derailment.

"This is unrelated to the first one," he said. "This one is in a completely different spot. I think the problem with the first one was that the train track wasn't switched over all the way."

An inspector is scheduled to visit the Craig Station this weekend to begin investigating the cause of the Saturday derailment. Investigators typically judge four factors when trying to learn the cause of a derailment: human factor, the track, weather and mechanical.

Van Someren said the derailed cars were scheduled to be back on the track by midnight Sunday.

The derailment isn't expected to slow up production, Van Someren said.

"Not at all," he said. "They're in good shape out there. It shouldn't take them long to get everything cleaned up."

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