Empty freight cars derail in Ramsey

Sixteen empty railroad cars derailed early Friday morning, June 13, in western Ramsey. Nobody was hurt, according to Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Jayden, 9, and Jake, 4, Snow, of Elk River, survey large railroad train wheels sitting in a field as crews work behind them on clearing derailed cars in Ramsey.

Jayden, 9, and Jake, 4, Snow, of Elk River, survey large railroad train wheels sitting in a field as crews work behind them on clearing derailed cars in Ramsey.

BNSF spokesperson Amy McBeth said the derailment happened at 2:15 a.m. between Jarvis Street and Alpine Drive as the train was heading east. She said BSNF is investigating why 16 of the 130 cars of this particular train derailed.

As of noon Friday, 10 of the cars were hauled away on flat-bed semitrailers to be scrapped by local contractors and six cars were able to be set back onto the rails, according to McBeth.

The derailment shut down commercial and commuter rail traffic.

McBeth said freight service should be running by 8 p.m. Friday. In the meantime, freight cars were diverted to other tracks where possible.

There will be no Northstar Commuter Rail service Friday, according to a statement from Metro Transit.

Northstar Link buses from St. Cloud will transport customers from Big Lake to Elk River. Metro Transit buses from Elk River will make stops at the Northstar stations in Ramsey, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Fridley and at Target Field. Metro Transit and BNSF personnel will be at station platforms to notify customers that train service has been suspended and assist riders.

Several people who heard about the derailment came out to watch crews clear the tracks.

Jenny Snow, of Elk River, brought her sons, Jayden, 9, and Jake, 4, to the derailment site once she heard nobody was injured and that there was no chemical spill.

Jayden and Jake have their own train sets at home and were in awe as they walked through tall grass and weeds that were almost up to Jake’s chin so they could watch crews methodically secure a train car onto a semitrailer.

“I never saw a train this close. I never realized how big it is,” said Jayden as he and Jake scoped out train wheels lying in the field.

Don Eldridge, of Nowthen, is retired after a long career of working with heavy machinery. His grandson Logan, 9, is fascinated by trains, so both wanted to check out something they do not see every day.

“It’s actually pretty cool to see,” Logan said of watching the crews clear the massive rail cars.

“It’s quite a process. It’s amazing to see the equipment they’ve got,” Eldridge said.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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