Train derailment in Harvey County amidst strong winds

Local

Derailed train by Walton. Train cars were empty, no injuries reported. #kswx KSN TV

Posted by Carly Willis KSN on Sunday, August 18, 2019

WALTON, Kan. (KSNW) – A train derailment near Walton overnight prompted scores of cars to be toppled amidst strong winds. There have been no injuries reported.

Storms hit the area early Sunday morning around midnight. A wind report a few miles away at the Newton Airport was recorded at 67 miles per hour.

Two trains derailed with up to 24 cars attached that also toppled while traveling an estimated 15 mph. Officials said the train was preparing to stop after being notified of severe weather in the area.

Andy Williams, BNSF Director of Public Affairs, told KSN that 93 train cars, stacked and parked in a nearby storage yard also blew over.

The cars were empty and many were double stacked. Multiple cranes and crews are working to clean up the derailment.

Residents were impacted by heavy traffic while Highway 50 was cut down to one lane for hours.

“It’s a mess,” said Mike Reynolds, resident and former railroad worker.

Reynolds said he worked for the railroad for decades and helped clean up derailments. He predicted the cleanup process could take awhile.

“They’ll pick up the cars and try to repair some of the track and get some cars back on and moving,” said Reynolds. “But, they got to get the cars out of the way first.”

Business owners and other residents were without power for hours.

It’s unknown whether the power outage was related to the derailment, sever weather or something else, but some residents said power poles were down in the area.

“I do know for sure there were a couple of poles down at 36th and Hillside and that’s got something to do with the power outage,” said Twila Van Rossun, owner of Hilltop Convenience Store.

Van Rossun’s store was without power most of the day, and her employees had to check out customers by hand. She said Sundays are usually the busiest day of the week.

“We moved out here in like 1990, and this is the first time we’ve ever seen anything like this,” said Van Rossun.

Railroad officials said train traffic will be rerouted to avoid the Walton area until crews can get everything cleaned up and repaired.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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