Heat warped track being blamed for train derailment near Earlimart

19 car derailment in southeastern Tulare County

Sizzling Valley heat is being blamed for Tuesday's train derailment involving a Union Pacific train near the southeast Tulare County community of Earlimart. A company spokesman says triple digit heat can warp and expand the tracks.

Wednesday at the crash site you could still see a few railroad cars that tumbled off the tracks, a pile of train car wheels and a huge stack of railroad ties. Union Pacific crews are dealing with triple digit heat to replace the section of track buckled by the heat. No injuries were reported in Tuesday's accident that saw 19 cars leave the track.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says a refrigerated boxcar lost about thirty gallons of fuel. But a spokesman says it didn't impact the underground water table or wildlife.

A rail buckling expert says sun kinks, a warp in the track, have caused more than 2100 train derailments in the U.S. over the past forty years. That's an average of fifty derailments a year. A spokesman for Union Pacific says the company was hoping to get the track repaired by Wednesday night.


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