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Train derails in Mitchell

Workers with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, led by Roadmaster Tom Leicester, center, work Wednesday to repair a bent section of rail near the Burr Street overpass in Mitchell. The rail was damaged when two locomotives hauling an 85-car freight train derailed around 12:15 a.m. (Chris Mueller/Republic)

Two eastbound locomotives hauling an empty 85-car freight train derailed at about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday just west of the Burr Street railroad bridge in Mitchell.

No one was hurt and no cargo was spilled in the derailment, said Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway spokeswoman Amy McBeth. Both locomotives stayed upright after running off the tracks, she said.

A BNSF crew returned the derailed locomotives to the rails Wednesday morning, then worked to repair the section of track damaged and bent as a result of the incident.

The railway was expected to be reopened by the end of the day Wednesday, McBeth said.

An investigation by BNSF into the cause of the derailment is under way.

"At this point, it's just too early to say what might have happened," she said, but added foul play is not believed to be the cause.

In January, another 85-car freight train derailed in almost the same location as Wednesday's derailment, but McBeth said BNSF does not believe the two incidents are related.

"Every derailment is unique in its circumstances," she said. "We don't believe the two incidents are related."

A railroad switch near the Burr Street overpass that was damaged when a train improperly ran through it was the cause of the derailment in January, McBeth said. No one was hurt in that incident, but one of the seven freight cars that left the tracks tipped and spilled a carload of grain near the tracks.

After two derailments in less than 10 months, and both happening in almost the same location in Mitchell, it may be time for the city to investigate whether anything needs to be done to prevent future incidents, Mayor Ken Tracy said Wednesday. But Tracy added he does not know if the city can do much other than recommend BNSF fix any problems it finds with that section of track.