Freight Train Derails, Erupts in Flames in Rural Kansas

WELLSVILLE, Kan. (AP) -- A BNSF Railway train rear-ended a second train Thursday afternoon, derailing 10 cars - including one that erupted in flames - and injuring one crewman.

The train that was struck was stopped on the tracks, BNSF spokesman Steve Forsberg said. Six cars from the stopped train, and two locomotives and two cars from the other train, derailed. Forsberg said the wreck's cause was under investigation.

An earlier report that a third train was involved in the accident was incorrect, Forsberg said. He said that train, coming the opposite way, was able to stop before hitting the wreckage.

A crewman on the first train was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, Forsberg said. The wreck occurred near Interstate 35, about 45 miles south of BNSF's rail yard in Kansas City.

One of the trains was hauling automobiles; the other was pulling freight containers. Forsberg said one train was hauling materials technically classified as hazardous, such as paint, but there were no chemical tanker cars in either of the trains.

The two locomotives that derailed toppled onto a second track, closing both tracks. Forsberg said it could be early Friday before either track opened.

Earlier in the day, a Norfolk Southern coal train derailed in western Virginia, sending more than 20 cars off the track. No injuries were reported.

The train, comprising 147 coal cars and two locomotives, was en route from Bluefield, W.Va., to Roanoke. Mike Gustafson, a witness, described the scene as ``a big, crumpled mess,'' with cars scattered along a 400-yard stretch of railroad track.

Thursday's was the third derailment for Norfolk Southern since January.

A Norfolk Southern train carrying a chlorine tanker hit another parked train last month in South Carolina, rupturing a fist-sized hole that released a toxic vapor cloud that killed nine people and injured 250 more.

Another derailment in Pittsburgh leaked toxic material into the Allegheny River.