Two AGP grain cars tipped over, the grain spilling out Tuesday morning after several grain cars went off the tracks at the South Washington Street crossing just south of State Street and near the Port of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen early Tuesday morning.
More than five cars had been separated from a longer train in the industrial area near the banks of the Chehalis River, their wheels off the tracks and dug into the dirt beside the rails. Several of the adjoining cars tipped toward a toppled car, while another car rested on its belly on South Washington Street, its wheels off the tracks as well.
Crews were surveying the scene Tuesday morning.
Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad General Manager Larry Sorensen said the cause is being investigated. ” … Men and equipment are still en route,” he said Tuesday. “A lot depends on getting everything assembled … there doesn’t appear to be (much of) a loss of product and very little damage to the cars themselves.”
Asked about obvious comparisons to proposed and controversial shipment of crude-by-rail, Sorensen replied: “This was a grain car, you know. In regard to crude, I have no comment, it’s not even on the radar right now.”
He added: “Historically, rail transportation is very safe … we pride ourselves on maintaining a very safe railroad.”
Train speed is less than 10 mph in that area, he said. The company will review a computer record of train speed as part of the investigation. The grain “hopper” cars are part of a “relatively new fleet” with estimated ages between 10 and 15 years, he said.
The track should be cleared by Wednesday morning, Sorensen said. He did not yet have an estimate for the cost.
The single track is inspected once a week per Federal Railroad Administration guidelines, Sorensen wasn’t sure what day the last inspection took place.
The railroad transports grain, automobiles and canola oil used for biodiesel, among other commodities and products, he said.