(Arlington, Texas — February 17, 2012)
A Union Pacific freight train derailment in downtown Arlington, TX Friday afternoon about 12:30 P.M. caused massive traffic jams, temporary evacuations, and concerns for major facilities, like city hall, The University of Texas at Arlington, Cowboys Stadium and the Texas Rangers Ball Park, that were near the site of the accident.
A mile-long freight train derailed between six and 15 cars as it rolled through downtown Arlington, TX, midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, shutting down major thoroughfares including Cooper, Mesquite, Center Streets , and the 500 block of Main Street just steps from the major Texas city’s government center. With four tank cars among the derailed cars, one of which overturned as it rolled down a steep embankment, city emergency management officials evacuated numerous businesses near the accident site before learning that the tank cars were loaded with non-hazardous corn syrup.
Following an early October rear-end collision between two UPRR freight trains near a popular Arlington family recreation facility, city officials had demanded a November 2 meeting with UP officials over rail safety concerns. At that meeting, ironically held only a block away from the site of Friday’s accident, Union Pacific officials, among them Clint Scheilbitzki, UP public affairs director, and Jeff Jones, superintendent of operations, had promised improved safety in rail operations through the city.