Eleven train cars derail outside of Aberdeen

Farm Forum

A train car collision mangled empty coal cars and flipped grain cars onto their sides, spilling corn into the snow near the Heartland Grain Fuels plant west of Aberdeen on the morning of Feb. 1.

“I heard a big sha-bang!” said Kevin Bourdon, who was working in his shop near the accident site when the collision happened. “I went outside to see what the hell had happened and saw coal dust floating down from 70 to 80 feet in the air. It was totally black. Then I saw the hoppers down in the ditch and the other cars all smashed.”

Cars filled with corn on the Heartland track hit the side of an empty coal train on the main track, derailing 11 train cars, said Amy McBeth, director of public affairs for BNSF Railway Company from Minneapolis. No one was injured, she said.

Three grain cars and eight coal cars were derailed, she said.

Two of the grain cars were lying on their sides in the ditch with grain pouring out of them. Some of the coal cars were tipped over onto their sides, while others were upright, but severely damaged. One coal car ruptured and spilled coal and coal dust onto the snow around the tracks. Several sets of steel wheels were knocked off the cars and lay around the tracks.

Bourdon, who lives on 133rd Street north of the tracks, said the railcars that spilled grain were near his barn.

The accident occurred at