Two Freight Trains Collide in Kansas

Two freight trains collided early Saturday, derailing several cars and causing minor injuries to crew members, authorities said.


MATFIELD GREEN, Kan. (AP) -- Two freight trains collided early Saturday, derailing several cars and causing minor injuries to crew members, authorities said.

The accident happened a few miles from the site of a derailment May 8 that occurred during heavy storms in south-central Kansas.

About 50 area residents were evacuated Saturday after the early morning accident, said Steve Forsberg, spokesman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe. He said the residents were allowed back into their homes about five hours later.

The accident happened when a train loaded primarily with truck trailers hauling consumer goods struck the back end of a westbound train that had been moving onto a side track. The eastbound train had been traveling from Los Angeles to New York City.

Forsberg said the westbound train, which was going from suburban Chicago to the Dallas area, had not pulled completely off the main track when it was struck.

Four engines and the lead car of the eastbound train derailed, and the last four cars of the westbound train were also forced off the tracks. Diesel fuel from the four engines spilled, causing a fire, Forsberg said.

Two crew members in the eastbound train reported minor injuries and were being treated at an Emporia hospital. No other injuries were reported.

The track was repaired and reopened about 6 p.m. Saturday, Forsberg said. Earlier Saturday, trains had been rerouted through North Dakota and Newton, Kan. The cause of the accident was under investigation.

The collision happened only a few miles from the site of the May 8 accident, which occurred when a train derailed during rough weather, forcing 250 residents from their homes because of a chemical leak.

Matfield Green is located about 40 miles northeast of Wichita.