UPDATE: Canadian Pacific crews work to clean up derailment - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

UPDATE: Canadian Pacific crews work to clean up derailment

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Crews work to clear up derailed train cars near the Brownsville Overlook area on Wednesday, January 27. Crews work to clear up derailed train cars near the Brownsville Overlook area on Wednesday, January 27.
Authorities block MN State Highway 26 near Shellhorn Rd. following the derailment of six cars Tuesday night. Authorities block MN State Highway 26 near Shellhorn Rd. following the derailment of six cars Tuesday night.
RENO, Minn. (WXOW) - -

Canadian Pacific Railway is continuing efforts to clean up the 15 rail cars that derailed late Tuesday night. 

Crews have already transferred the soybean oil from three of the six cars that went into the Mississippi River. 

Friday Canadian Pacific worked to remove those three cars from the water and then began transferring out the contents of the three cars that remain in the water.

Canadian Pacific Representative Andy Cummings said that it will take several days before the spill is entirely cleaned up. He said two of the rail cars that went into the river had valves that were damaged causing soybean oil to leak 850 gallons into the river.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife is on scene to assist with the clean up. 

Cummings said in a statement to News 19, "It can be a time consuming process but we are committed to taking the time to do it right. Our focus is on safety and environmental protection."

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.


Several hundred gallons of soybean oil spilled into the Mississippi River following a train derailment near Reno, Minnesota Tuesday night according to a railroad spokesperson.

Canadian Pacific Media Relations Manager Andy Cummings said that approximately 850 gallons of soybean oil leaked from one of the damaged tanker cars that ended up in the river. It was one of six tanker cars that landed in the river following the derailment.

Cummings said that crews successfully transferred the remaining oil from the tanker car to an empty rail car brought in by the railroad.

Two other cars also had their oil removed according to Cummings. Workers plan to remove the damaged cars from the water on Friday.

They also expect to offload the oil in the three remaining cars on Friday, then begin the removing those cars.

Cummings stated one additional car also leaked soybean oil from a damaged valve and that the valve was plugged to stop the leak. 

Booms remain in place downriver to catch any oil spillage. Cummings said the railroad doesn't believe any cars are leaking at this time. 

Earlier Thursday, CP spokesperson Jeremy Berry said the railroad finished laying new track by the Brownsville Wildlife Overlook at 4:30 a.m. Thursday morning. The new track replaced a section that was damaged when 15 cars from the train derailed around 10:00 p.m. Tuesday night. 

Besides the cars in the water, the remaining derailed cars are in the removal process. Berry said this includes three cars containing sodium chlorate. The chemical will be pumped into new tank cars, then the damaged cars taken away.

Several more days of work remains at the site according to Berry.

Highway 26 will remain down to one lane during the cleanup process. 

Canadian Pacific continues to work at the site with state and federal agencies as the cleanup and investigation into the derailment continues.

There's still no word on what led the derailment. 

Crews from the Canadian Pacific Railroad continue cleanup efforts after a train derailment late Tuesday night by the Brownsville Wildlife Overlook just north of Reno.

CP spokesman Andy Cummings tells WXOW that 15 cars left the tracks shortly around 10:00 p.m. Six of those were tanker cars that went into the Mississippi River. Those cars contained soybean oil.

According to Cummings, crews discovered Wednesday afternoon that leaking is occurring from one or more of the cars. Booms were installed around the cars to contain any potential spill. Although soybean oil is not considered a hazardous material, Cummings said they want to contain any oil in the water.

The tanker cars in the water need to get pumped out before they can be moved according to Cummings.

Three of the 15 derailed cars contained sodium chlorate, used in paper making and also as a herbicide. Cummings said that none of those tanker cars went into the water. There was some leakage of sodium chlorate from one of the tank cars, but that the spill was on land and never reached the water, said Cummings.

Crews spent the day using heavy machinery to right several of the derailed cars and moving them from the site. 

The derailment tore up a lengthy stretch of track which also needs repair. Cummings said the railroad plans to have new track laid by Wednesday night. At that point, the railroad can bring in empty tanker cars and pump out the tanker cars in the water. Once those are empty, crews can then remove them.

Cummings didn't have a timetable for how long that will take.

The railroad is also still investigating what caused the derailment.

For the time being, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said that a portion of Highway 26, which runs parallel to the rail line, remains limited to one lane as heavy equipment and crews work at the site. There are signalmen at both ends of the cleanup zone. They urge drivers to use caution if they have to travel through the area.

Besides cleanup crews, there are several state and local agencies on the site assessing the damage from the derailment including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Pollution  Control Agency, EPA, and the Federal Railroad Administration.

Emergency crews were on the scene of a train derailment near Reno, Minnesota early Wednesday morning.

The derailment of the Canadian Pacific train happened around 11:00 p.m. Tuesday. There were no injuries.

Canadian Pacific Spokesman Andy Cummings said 15 cars went off the tracks, and six cars went into the water. The cars that landed in the river were carrying soybean oil. There was no evidence that those cars were leaking. Three of the cars that derailed, but did not go in the water were carrying sodium chlorate. The cap of one of those cars came off during the derailment, and leaked a small amount of sodium chlorate on the ground, but there is no concern of it getting into the water.

Sodium chlorate is used primarily in the paper making process. It is also used in herbicides.

A hazmat team from Winona was on the scene of the derailment site to assess the situation. A crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Pollution Response Unit was also at the site.

"It went smoothly. Personnel was here within a short period of time. CP rail had higher level management type people here on scene within a couple of hours. So that part I was impressed with," said Sheriff Inglett.

The railroad tracks are parallel to Minnesota State Highway 26 along the Mississippi River.

Highway 26 is open once again to traffic. It was closed for several hours immediately after the derailment. Houston County Sheriff Inglett said that drivers can expect one lane closed to traffic as crews complete the cleanup process starting around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"We're always concerned about train derailments," said Sheriff Inglett, "Train traffic has picked up considerably in the last year or so. And that's where everybody's concern is, especially with the oil tankers and stuff like that. So we're always trying to prepare for them."

Reno, Minnesota is approximately seven miles south of Brownsville and about eight miles north of the Iowa border.

The Houston County Sheriff's Department, Brownsville Fire Department, Minnesota State Patrol, and the Minnesota DOT all responded to the derailment.

WXOW's Daybreak and WXOW.com for updates on this story.  

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