No one was hurt early Monday when 21 rail cars carrying coal out of the Powder River Basin near the tiny community of Bill derailed about 4 miles southeast of Lusk, authorities and Union Pacific railroad report.
Hazmat was not involved. Cleanup crews and equipment were headed to the site Monday, according to a statement from Robynn Tysver, Union Pacific spokeswoman. The derailment happened about 6:30 a.m.
“We do not have an estimate on when the track will reopen,” says Tysver’s statement to Cowboy State Daily. “The cause of the derailment is under investigation.”
James Santistevan, Niobrara County Emergency Management Coordinator, was surveying the scene Monday afternoon during a phone interview with Cowboy State Daily.
The cars were all carrying coal, and they spilled their contents onto the land while “crushing into themselves,” said Santistevan, adding that the spill didn’t harm any waterways.
An engineer and a brakeman, at least, were on the train at the time of its derailment, said Santistevan.
Though he knew the train originated from the mines outside Bill, Wyoming, he didn’t know where it was headed.
Union Pacific’s statement didn’t say.
The area has a fairly flat grade, Santistevan said.
Cowboy State Daily will update this story as more information is available.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.