North Dakota Train Crash

Skylar Fincher-Butler, Reporter

On March 26, a 70-car train ran through North Dakota. 

At 11:15 p.m., this train, the Canadian Pacific, derailed a mile outside of Wyndmere in Richland County. 31 of the 70 cars derailed, some of which were carrying hazardous materials. 

Four of the cars were carrying liquid asphalt, two cars were carrying ethylene glycol, and there was at least one car carrying propylene. 

The propylene container was punctured and released some vapor, but officials say that the gas was mitigated before it was transferred out. This means that it was made less severe and diluted in a way that makes it nontoxic for the people and environment around the crash site. 

Ethylene glycol is a flammable liquid used for antifreeze. Propylene is a hazardous gas compound used for polypropylene plastics. 

The chemicals were contained at the crash site, and the cleanup crew used the cold weather to turn the chemicals into a gel, making it easier to clean them up. 

The liquid asphalt has since been solidified, collected, stockpiled, and recycled.

Some antifreeze did spill into the soil, but experts say once it gets warmer, the soil will get dug up and new soil will be put down. 

While the spills are still messy and harmful, they would have been worse had the weather been warmer. 

Officials say that there were no injuries, fires, or any waterways nearby. 

Spill Investigation Program Manager Bill Suess, who works with North Dakota Environmental Quality, said that this was the best-case scenario when it comes to a train crash since the chemicals that spilled were mild in toxicity. 

Suess also said, “You never want to see a train derailment, but it will probably get cleaned up the fastest and was probably the lowest impact of any train derailment I’ve had to deal with.”

The owner of the land, Edd Goerg, said, “There will be environmental testing and issues like that going forward, throughout the rest of the year.” These will be provided either by the state or the government, but it hasn’t been specified which. 

This is now the newest incident in toxic railway accidents. There have been three others

The cause of the North Dakota crash was likely a broken rail, says the officials with the Canadian Pacific.