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Train derailment on Arkansas River bridge causes traffic back up near Van Buren

Officials say it will take several hours to clean up the derailed train causing traffic to back up across the intersections into Van Buren, near Hwy. 59.

VAN BUREN, Ark — Crews are working to clear a derailed train on the Arkansas River bridge Wednesday, May 11, morning.

According to Arkansas/Oklahoma River Valley REPC, the Arkansas-Missouri Railroad had a train have a "minor" derailment on the bridge causing traffic to back up across the intersections into Van Buren, just past the Train Depot near Highway 59.  

Authorities say it will take several hours to remove by hooking and pulling the train cars off the intersections. Crews will then use specialized equipment to get the engine off the bridge.

The cause of the derailment is not known at this time.

Ron Sparks with AR/MO Railroad says a small amount of diesel fuel did leak from one of the rail cars into the Arkansas River. They have it stopped now and a team is investigating that leak and its impact, if any, on the water. The Coast Guard is helping access the damage. 

There were three engines and 82 train cars at the time of the derailment, impacting five roadway crossings in Van Buren.

He said they hope to have the rail car and the others removed by 12 p.m. Wednesday.

“The issues of getting the track back open is the number one priority besides the clean up of whatever was spilled in the river," said Sparks. "We apologize for any inconvenience to the public. We are working as quickly as possible and hope to have everything removed by 12 p.m.

Posted by AR/OK River Valley REPC on Wednesday, May 11, 2022

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