Southeast Iowa train crash sends coal, diesel into Mississippi River

cigaretteman

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May 29, 2001
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A collision Saturday night between a freight train and a barge sticking out onto the railroad tracks sent coal cars and diesel fuel into the Mississippi River along Southeast Iowa’s Lee County, authorities said.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the barge was parked along the shore of the Mississippi River near Montrose. The Burlington Hawk Eye reported it was pulled up to the shore in a way that the nose of the barge was left extending over the tracks. When a southbound train operated by BNSF came down the tracks about 11:50 p.m., it hit the barge — derailing two locomotives and overturning several coal cars, the Iowa DNR said.

“Several hundred gallons of diesel was released on the ballast material, and was seeping into the Mississippi River from the locomotive fuel tank,” the Iowa DNR said Sunday in a news release. “A number of coal cars spilled an unknown quantity of coal into the river. No injuries were reported. ”

The department said it was working local emergency responders, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that Mississippi River Road in the area would be partially closed while heavy equipment is brought in to clean up the derailment.

 

bagdropper

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Oct 17, 2002
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I've read a couple stories on what happened here and having seen these river terminals in action most my entire life, I can't figure out how the bow barge got across the tracks. That tells me the tracks are VERY close to shore as well as (we're in fall flows, which are very low usually) more or less equal enough in height.

Yes, being nose in caused it - but how the heck was the terminal set up in such a way that this'd EVER be possible.
 
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cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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I've read a couple stories on what happened here and having seen these river terminals in action most my entire life, I can't figure out how the bow barge got across the tracks. That tells me the tracks are VERY close to shore as well as (we're in fall flows, which are very low usually) more or less equal enough in height.

Yes, being nose in caused it - but how the heck was the terminal set up in such a way that this'd EVER be possible.
Good question. It seemed really odd to me too, and I'm not even familiar with the area.