(Fairbury, Nebraska – February 3, 2013)
A total of 41 hopper cars loaded with coal derailed early Sunday morning at about 1:00 A.M. just southeast of Fairbury, NE near Farmstead Road in a rural part of Jefferson County, effectively shutting down the Union Pacific Railroad line extending from Fairbury to Topeka, KS, but not representing a serious traffic disruption due to the availability of alternate UPRR routes. What it did represent was a massive mess of wrecked rail cars piled 30 feet high and several thousand tons of coal scattered across the countryside, most specifically in the backyard of Mike and Jami Diller who, fortunately, were not injured.
The train consisted of 142 cars destined for St. Louis, MO, and was one of a daily average of 49 trains that operate through that corridor at a top allowable speed of 70 mph.
Various law enforcement agencies, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Nebraska State Patrol and Fairbury Police Dept. provided traffic control until UP personnel had stabilized the area and normal traffic patterns could be resumed late Sunday afternoon.