(Junction City, Kansas – June 27, 2012)
Motorists traveling on I-70 near Junction City, KS late Wednesday afternoon had the unusual opportunity to both view as well as nearly become involved in a major train derailment when a 150-car Union Pacific coal train derailed 15 carloads of coal in an accident that occurred about 4:45 P.M. adjacent to and beneath the Interstate Highway near exit 296 (South Washington Street).
Fortunately, the derailed portion of the train, which was on its way to the Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant near St. Marys, KS, missed the pillars supporting the I-70 overpass of UPRR tracks, but still broke apart enough to block several major railroad/street crossings in the south part of Junction City.
Geary County Undersheriff Tony Wolf told news media that the train crew speculated that the extreme heat Wednesday had caused a “sun kink” in the rails from heat expansion. Once UPRR officials arrived on the scene they quickly aborted the release of any further pertinent information.