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Fractured track being investigated in Raymond, Minnesota, derailment of BNSF Railway train

A National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report states a section of fractured track has been sent to a laboratory as part of investigation into cause of the March 30 derailment of a BNSF Railway train in Raymond.

Raymond Train Derailment 033023 020.jpg
Workers surround a pileup of rail cars in Raymond following a BNSF derailment on Thursday, March 30, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

RAYMOND β€” A section of fractured rail track is being examined as part of the investigation into the cause of the train derailment in Raymond on March 30.

The National Transportation Safety Board reported that a section of fractured track was sent to the BNSF Railway laboratory in Topeka, Kansas, on April 1, according to a preliminary report on the derailment released on Tuesday.

The accident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. on March 30 on the western edge of Raymond and led to the evacuation of approximately 800 residents.

According to the NTSB report , the train consisting of 40 loaded cars and two locomotives was traveling at 43 miles per hour when the derailment occurred. A 49 mph limit is allowed on that section of track. Twenty-three mixed freight cars were derailed.

According to the report, hazardous material was released from five rail cars involved in the accident. Two of the cars sustained punctured shells and ignited. The fire caused thermal damage to the manway gaskets on the three other tank cars, releasing more ethanol and spreading the fire. Each of the five cars held 28,900 gallons of ethanol.

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There were no injuries as a result of the derailment. Firefighters responding to the scene contained the fire and were able to extinguish it by the morning of the following day.

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BNSF estimates damage to equipment and track infrastructure as a result of the derailment at $1.9 million, according to the NTSB report.

The train was 2,264 feet long and weighed 5,423 tons. It was staffed by one engineer, one conductor, one brakeman and one conductor trainee.

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
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