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Train derails in Weber Canyon following a collision (+photos)

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8 2014 1:07 p.m. MST

A Union Pacific train traveling through Weber Canyon near I-84 derailed, striking the rear end of another train on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SOUTH WEBER, Davis County — Several cars from a Union Pacific train derailed Wednesday following a collision.

Just before 9:30 a.m., a Union Pacific freight train carrying grain rear-ended another Union Pacific train carrying grain near the mouth of Weber Canyon, according to Aaron Hunt, spokesman for Union Pacific.

"A collision like this is rare for us," Hunt said.

The front locomotive hit the end rail car of the train in front, Hunt said. Three locomotives and five rail cars came off the tracks as a result of the crash. Train lines often contain three to five locomotives, including the locomotive in the front of the train where the crew sits, Hunt said.

One car was ripped apart and another slid down the hill by the highway.

Three Union Pacific employees received minor injuries in the crash. The cause of the crash is still unknown, and is being investigated by Union Pacific.

Corn and grain spilled from the cars and one of the locomotives leaked fuel as well. Union Pacific's hazardous materials crew worked with local emergency responders to contain the fuel, which did not make its way into a nearby river, according to Hunt. Once the locomotives and rail cars are put back on track, the crews will clean the oil that spilled onto the dirt.

Officials estimate the road cleanup would take all day.

"They're going to bring in heavy equipment, cranes. They're going to have to obviously bring down the containers down below, then they're going to have to impound or tow those away, and then the other ones. They're going to have to make sure they're OK to continue down the railroad tracks," Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Chris Simmons said.

Special cranes will lift functional train cars back on rails, Hunt said, and damaged cars will be taken out on flatbed trucks.

Photos show at least three cars off the train tracks, two of which were crumpled on one end, on the hill next to I-84.

Only one lane was left open on the highway. The number two lane was closed and will remain closed into the evening, UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said.

According to Hunt, the railway cleanup could take anywhere from days to weeks to complete. No trains have been delayed so far, and Union Pacific officials are eager to keep delays to a minimum.

He described Utah as a railroad "hub."

"Utah's a really important part of our business. We've invested $290 million in the state between 2007 and 2012" to improve the railway's infrastructure and replace worn parts of tracks and keep the rail facilities up to date, he said.

Contributing: Mike Anderson

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com, Twitter: whitevs7

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