(Sterling, Colorado – March 2, 2013)
The cars may have been empty, but the traffic headaches were real north of Sterling, CO Saturday, when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train of 120 empty coal cars powered by four locomotives derailed 23 of the cars at about 8:30 A.M.
The derailment not only created traffic disruption as Colorado Dept. of Transportation officials were forced to close a main artery, Colorado Highway 138, for over five hours while BNSF and contract crews cleared enough of the cars to enable opening of the highway.
Earlier, the derailing cars had set several grass fires, but the Sterling Fire Dept. treated the situation as a potentially major emergency, dispatching five trucks to the scene. SFD personnel were able to extinguish all the fires before they erupted into a major wildfire.