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Fourth train derailment occurs near Dunsmuir at Cantara Loop

Crews are working on removing the derailed train cars.
Courtesy of Tom Ferrel
Crews work to remove the derailed train cars.

A Union Pacific Railroad train derailed Tuesday near Dunsmuir, CA at the location of several previous accidents.

Nine train cars derailed at 2:30 p.m., with no injuries or fatalities reported. The derailment involved empty lumber cars.

The accident occurred at the Cantara Loop, a tight curve in the train tracks where a Southern Pacific train also derailed in 1991. That incident resulted in thousands of gallons of herbicide spilling into the Sacramento River, killing marine life and sickening people. Another Union Pacific train derailed in the same spot last year.

Bryan Schenone, director of the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services, said OES was not alerted about Tuesday’s incident.

"That's been a big push with Union Pacific is to increase the communication to local jurisdiction if there is a train derailment," he said.

Union Pacific said the incident is under investigation.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said, "Union Pacific works diligently to prevent derailments and other accidents. We continuously inspect our tracks, locomotives, and other equipment, and we utilize a variety of technology to inspect locomotives and railcar wheels. We also comply with all federal rules and regulations in working toward ensuring our trains operate safely."

Schenone said there are concerns about the potential for more hazardous accidents at the site in the future.

"That is the constant discussion with state and government officials. How do we prevent that?" he said. "Whatever's happening in that spot certainly has to be addressed."

Amtrak's Coast Starlight passenger train also runs along this track between station stops in Dunsmuir and Klamath Falls.

The spokesperson said train traffic resumed about 11 p.m., and the cars are being removed from the site.

Jane Vaughan is a regional reporter for Jefferson Public Radio. Jane began her journalism career as a reporter for a community newspaper in Portland, Maine. She's been a producer at New Hampshire Public Radio and worked on WNYC's On The Media.