(Morrow, Louisiana – January 27, 2014)
The Union Pacific derailment of 14 freight cars, only 11 of which could be re-railed due to the questionable contents of the other three, the closing for several days of a major highway and the evacuation of one home due to the proximity of a derailed car to the residence, was termed “minor” by law enforcement officials Monday as U.S. Highway 71 remained closed to traffic Monday after the 9:35 P.M. Saturday accident that occurred near Morrow, LA.
Texas-based UPRR Corporate Relations and Media Director Raquel Espinoza had estimated that “We anticipate that it’ll (U.S. 71) be closed until around 8 P.M. Monday” on Sunday, adding that “We have been working through the night to clear the area and re-rail the cars.”
All the cars, that is, except the three that she said would need to have their contents removed before the overturned cars could be rolled upright and placed back on the railroad tracks. The railroad spokeswoman, however, was unsure of exactly what specific cargo was in the cars when asked by the news media. “We haven’t determined the cause yet,” she added, concluding that “We take all of these things very seriously and take all measures to prevent derailments and research how they occur.”
Louisiana State Police Troop “I” Public Information Officer Stephen Hammons, recalling the August Union Pacific derailment at Lawtell, LA, which saw the spilling of over 40,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals, classified the Morrow accident as far less problematic. “As far as train derailment goes, this is one of the easy ones.”