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Update: Cleanup under way at derailment near Kensal, ND

RURAL KENSAL, N.D. -- A Saturday train derailment on the north border of the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge appears to be contained, according to Canadian Pacific Railway Officials.

Thirty-one cars went of the rail after the track washed out following a Friday night rainstorm, said Mike LoVecchio, spokesperson for CPR.

The derailment happened around 8:30 a.m. about nine miles east of U.S. Highway 281 on N.D. Highway 9, about four miles northwest of Kensal.

"It's a mixed manifest train so there are a variety of materials that are being transported," LoVecchio said.

The 90-car train had some cars that were empty that normally carried anhydrous ammonia and sulfuric acid, which did not leak, he said.

The only apparent leak was diesel fuel from a locomotive that went off the track. The locomotive has a 2,000-gallon capacity but the amount spilled into the James River was unknown.

"At this point the site is safe," LoVecchio said.

Independent contractors were at the site Saturday afternoon and deployed a number of absorbent buoys to contain any possible spill.

"It's hard to say right now," said Kim Hanson, Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge manager, of the potential environmental concerns. "It's going to have some impact."

Hanson was told by CPR officials that the cleanup was estimated at three days. LoVecchio did not immediately have a timetable.

"It's worse than I thought, but it could have been much worse," Hanson said.

Hanson said he was told by CPR officials that one potentially hazardous material being transported was soybean oil, which did not leak from the derailed cars.

Hanson said the main concern will be the removal of the derailed cars and making sure they do not rupture.

The only crew members on the train were a conductor and an engineer. Neither was injured.

The train was headed from the Twin Cities to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. No information was available on how long the track will be closed.

Agencies responding include the Kensal Fire Department, the Carrington Fire Department, the Jamestown Fire Department, North Dakota Game and Fish, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Stutsman County Sheriff's Office, Stutsman and Foster counties emergency management, the Canadian Pacific Environmental Response Unit and Earth Movers Inc. out of Minot.

A portion of N.D. Highway 9 near the train tracks was closed from about 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

More information was not immediately available.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at