Coal train derails near Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. -- A coal train traveling from Montana to Canada derailed early Wednesday morning about five miles east of Vancouver.

Nobody was injured and nothing spilled from the train. 

The train went off the track at about 1 a.m. when the wheels on one end of one of the rail cars lifted off the track.

A spokesperson for BNSF Railway said 35 to 45 trains run on the track each day.

“I think anytime we see a derailment like this it's a wakeup call,” said Dan Serres, Conservation Director with Columbia Riverkeeper.

Serres said the derailment should give people pause about the future, specifically in 2017 when decisions are expected over proposals for a new coal terminal in Longview and an oil terminal in Clark County.

“That would bring five loaded oil trains a day right down these same tracks,” said Serres. “We're lucky this wasn't an oil train otherwise this could have been much worse.”
In June, a Union Pacific train carrying Bakken crude derailed in Mosier, Ore. Sixteen cars came off the tracks, triggering multiple explosions in the Columbia River Gorge.

At the BNSF site in Vancouver, neighbor Cheyl Boethin said she’s not worried about an oil train explosion and isn’t opposed to more trains coming through.

“They don't go that fast and it's a straight track,” said Boethin. “It’s no different than when the windmills go through.”



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