Jefferson railway cleared of derailment - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Jefferson railway cleared of derailment

(Source: KLTV) (Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV) (Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV) (Source: KLTV)

The lines are finally moving again on a set of East Texas tracks that were torn up from a derailment. On Friday, freight cars from Kansas City Southern Railroad collided with an oncoming Union Pacific train under a bridge near Highway 59 in Jefferson.

The impact jammed freight cars into a bridge support beam, damaging the structure. Though repairs still need to be done to the bridge, the freight has begun to move again.

Damage to the tracks was considerable and moving 18 derailed cars required special equipment.
"Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern will work together collaboratively. An unfortunate circumstance and we're fortunate no one was hurt," says Union Pacific corporate spokeswoman Calli Hite.

But the derailment also causes a movement nightmare for the railroads. The millions of tons of freight moved every day, has to rerouted to other lines.

"We pulled the 18 derailed cars out of there, worked with Tx-Dot to make sure they had access to what they needed," Hite says.

In this case, there was a minimum 24-hour delay for freight to be rerouted, and during that time the massive effort to move the tons of cars and replace rack was done by a small army of workers.

The west side of the bridge which was damaged was braced, and traffic is now being allowed through on the east side which was not damaged.

"And that’s now being evaluated by Tex-Dot," says Hite.

As with any business, time is money, and it was crucial for the rail to be opened to move product on time.

"What Union Pacific’s priority is, operating safely and getting our products to our customers in a timely fashion. So getting that rail line open is critical to serving our customers," Hite says.

It's unknown how long it will take Tex-Dot to repair the damaged portion of the bridge overpass.

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