In Missouri, a Union Pacific (UP) train collided with a Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) train at about 2:30 A.M. Saturday over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The crash caused several cars to derail and careen into the support pillars of the Highway M overpass in Scott County, MO. No one was seriously injured in the crash.
Investigators indicate that the UP train hit the side of the BNSF train at a rail intersection. The impact caused the rail cars to derail and strike the columns supporting Highway M. Two forty-foot sections of the overpass crumpled from the collision. Two cars containing five people were on the overpass at the time of impact. A diesel fire also broke out in the UP locomotive after the collision, but was quickly put out.
Both railroads indicate that approximately twelve of their cars derailed. BNSF indicates that no one from their crew was hurt as a result of the crash and derailment. Two members of the UP crew were inured and taken to the hospital. According to reports, all have been released from the hospital.
The overpass had been rated “good” in the last inspection in February 2013. A representative from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has indicated that there was no lack of structural integrity to the bridge, though investigators likely will scrutinize the bridge design. The NTSB investigation will involve drug and alcohol testing of the railroad employees. The agency also will review all video footage from the front of the train and test all track and rail signals.
The estimated replacement cost of the overpass is approximately three million dollars. The bridge is used by 400-500 cars per day and is expected to reopen in September of this year. A representative from the Missouri Department of Transportation has indicated that the railroads will likely pay for the replacement of the bridge, but the investigation still is in its early stages. The NTSB states that the full investigation could take a year.
Scott County is located in South Eastern Missouri near Cape Girardeau.