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2 Trains Derail Near Beaumont

Three workers are injured. The cause of the freight accident is under investigation.

September 09, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

Two Union Pacific freight trains derailed east of Beaumont Sunday night, sending a total of 23 cars and three locomotives off the tracks.

Two rail workers were injured in the crash, and a third was critically injured while work crews attempted to right the cars.

"A large crane boom block fell and apparently hit him," Union Pacific spokesman John Bromley said. Bromley said the worker was a contractor employed by Hulcher Services Inc. of Denton, Texas.

The man was airlifted to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he underwent surgery and was in serious but stable condition Monday. Authorities did not release his name.

Bromley said the incident began about 9:30 p.m. when a westbound train coming down a grade derailed and a box car blocked the opposite track. An eastbound train struck the boxcar, and that led to the second derailment.

Rick Vogt, spokesman for the Riverside County Fire Department, said a hazardous-materials crew was called to clean up diesel fuel spilling from one of the locomotives. Vogt said there were no hazardous materials on the derailed cars.

The accident occurred on a portion of track that is part of the main freight train artery linking Los Angeles to several states.

Union Pacific officials and staff from the Federal Railroad Administration and California Public Utilities Commission were investigating what caused the crash, Bromley said.

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