(Lilbourn, Missouri – February 26, 2013)
A 119-car Union Pacific coal train powered by three locomotives and bound for the Associate Electric Power plant near Marston, MO derailed 19 cars, overturning 16 of the coal hopper cars while three others stayed upright but off the rails, early Tuesday morning about 5:13 A.M., forcing the closing of a half dozen crossings in the city of Lilbourn, MO, dividing the city in half, spilling thousands of tons of coal and seriously disrupting school transportation in the process.
Supt. Bill Nance of the New Madrid County R-1 School District said Tuesday morning’s school bus operations would have to be re-routed and would be running late, but that all students would be picked up regardless of the delay. Lilbourn Chief of Police Dennis Young advised the public to stay clear of the derailment site as rails were under stress and could snap, causing injury to anyone or damage to anything within its pathway.
The wreck caused the closure of the UPRR crossings at Missouri State Route U, Phillips Street, Lewis Avenue and 5th, 6th and 7th Streets, and was the third serious Union Pacific derailment in New Madrid County in the past 15 years.
The derailment began at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway interchange switch with UPRR, an area where crews from both railroads had recently worked on extensive improvements on their respective rail routes through Lilbourn. The BNSF work was reportedly still in progress, while Union Pacific crews finished their work almost two weeks ago.