(Swartz, Louisiana – March 5, 2013)
The spilling of hundreds of tons of coal on its way to a Louisiana power plant resulted in major road closures in the Ouachita Parish community of Swartz, LA Tuesday morning when a Union Pacific coal train of three locomotives hauling 136 loaded hopper cars of coal derailed 10 cars at a grade crossing.
Louisiana State Police troopers were forced to close both Louisiana Highway 594 as well as Swartz School Road, cutting off major access routes to the community.
Most fortunately, no vehicles waiting at the railroad crossing for the train to pass were damaged, nor were any occupants injured, as the rail cars derailed. Too often, the obedient highway vehicle’s drivers and passengers are drawn into an accident simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time: waiting at a railroad crossing when a derailment occurs.
UPRR Spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza could offer no cause for the accident, but did say that UP officials were on the scene investigating and clearing the derailment.