Saturday 11-15-03 on the BNSF line from portland oregon to seattle WA. a northbound UP train collided wih southbound BNSF train derailing 6 engines and 20 cars (one landing on I-5 southbound) and injuring 2 . this crash comes 10 years almost to the day after a BNSF train Collided with UP train (in the same exact spot!) killing 5 crew members and sendng 2 flaming cars onto southbound I-5. The recent train crashed where the memorial stands for the crash that happened 11-11-93. i curantly live about 30 miles from there. here is an article from the local paper. sorry i couldnnd any pics on the net althought there are some in the actual newspaper article
KELSO -- Two freight trains collided Saturday on a stretch of track midway between Kalama and Kelso, injuring two crew members and derailing more than 20 cars.
One rail car flipped onto Interstate 5, temporarily blocking two southbound lanes.
A northbound Union Pacific Railroad train struck the side of a southbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway train that was crossing from one set of tracks to another just before 8 a.m., said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF, which owns the tracks.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
The accident roused memories of another crash at the same location 10 years ago, almost to the day. A wreath-covered memorial marks the spot where the Nov. 11, 1993, head-on collision killed five rail crewmen.
That tragedy leapt to mind for Bill Loomis, Union Pacific's risk management director, when he received the call about Saturday's accident.
"I was scared when I first got notified because of that," Loomis said as he surveyed rail cars jumbled like kindling. "Thank goodness it wasn't a repeat performance."
Emergency crews cut two Union Pacific crewmen out of the wreckage, metal so tough it broke the rescue tool, said Capt. John McDowell of Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue.
"The trains are built heavy duty, which is why they usually win when they hit a car or truck. But when they hit each other, they both lose," McDowell said.
The crewmen, both 60, were taken to St. John Medical Center in Longview.
Bob Calhoun, who lives in Lewis County, was transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland for treatment of back injuries, a Union Pacific official said.
Steve Shaben, who lives in the Seattle area, was treated at St. John for a fractured leg, the official said.
The BNSF crew wasn't hurt in the accident.
"We don't know why it happened," Loomis said. "Over the next few days we'll determine a cause. I wouldn't want to speculate."
Melonas said he didn't know how fast the trains were traveling, but the maximum speed at the switching point where they crashed ranges from 49 to 59 mph.
Fifteen cars on the Union Pacific train and seven BNSF cars derailed, Melonas said.
The Union Pacific train, headed from Portland to Seattle, had 90 cars -- 60 of them carrying garbage and 30 empty. The train's three locomotives spilled diesel, but the Department of Ecology spill-response team didn't know exactly how much.
The tanks had a combined capacity of 7,100 gallons, said the team's Miriam Duerr.
Contaminated dredge spoils hauled on the BNSF train also may have spilled, she said. The BNSF train, with three locomotives, was hauling 42 containers from Seattle to Roosevelt. Eighteen cars contained sediment dredged from Seattle's Duwamish River, a Superfund cleanup site. The crash breached three of the containers, Duerr said.
Crews with heavy equipment were moving rail cars Saturday afternoon and were expected to have one line cleared that night, Melonas said.
Amtrak, which uses BNSF's railway, bused passengers between Portland and Seattle.
Saturday's accident bore many similarities to the fiery and fatal accident 10 years ago. Both crashes occurred at the same switching point between a Union Pacific train heading north and a BNSF train traveling south.
The 1993 collision, a smashup that tossed flaming rail cars onto Interstate 5, killed two Union Pacific and three BNSF crewmen.
Investigators said the crew of the Burlington Northern train went past a yellow warning light without trying to stop until coming upon a red light a mile and a half down the track, too late to prevent the collision. A year later, the National Transportation Safety Board attributed the crash to human error.