Twenty-one cars in a 123-car Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway coal train derailed Sunday on the west side of the railroad yard in west Jamestown.
Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager, said the derailment happened shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday. BNSF called the Law Enforcement Center to report the derailment at about 7:30 a.m. There were no injuries.
An eastbound BNSF freight train was traveling through Jamestown fully loaded with coal. The 21 cars located toward the front of the train derailed and spilled their coal over the railroad yard tracks. The railroad yard is BNSF property -- as is the gravel road bordering it. The gravel road continues west from Second Street Southwest.
"It all happened on their property," Bergquist said.
The Jamestown Police Department assisted with traffic control closing parts of 17th Avenue Southwest and other affected roadways. And as the railroad yard is outside the city limits, the Stutsman County's Sheriff's Department was also at the scene. The railroad crossing at the far west end of the yard was cleared at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Amy McBeth, BNSF director of public affairs.
"Crews pulled the rear end of the derailed train that was blocking the road away from the crossing," McBeth said.
BNSF is using crews from R.J. Corman Derailment Services for cleanup. McBeth said it's a slow process due to the weather and the tonnage involved.
"It will take several days," she said.
The derailed cars will most likely be unsalvageable, she added, and will be scrapped.
The derailment posed no problem to the community. Bergquist said none of the coal went into Pipestem Creek. There was damage to an electrical utility pole, he said, so Otter Tail Power Co. was called to deal with it.
The cause of the derailment is under investigation, McBeth said. Once the cleanup is completed, the track will be inspected and repaired.
Meanwhile, she said, the derailment will have minimal effect on train traffic through town. Trains will be routed on a different track, McBeth said, "through the yard and back on to the main track."
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com