— BY JUDY SHERIDAN
ALEDO – The reason a freight train left the tracks early Thursday morning near the Parker/Tarrant County line — injuring a member of the crew — is still under investigation, according to Mark Davis, a public relations officer with the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
The accident derailed seven cars, including two locomotives — which tilted but didn’t slide off — according to Capt. James Garcia, of the Benbrook Fire Department, which was dispatched by Tarrant County to Aledo Iona Road at 5:05 a.m.
Both the engineer and conductor were transported to a hospital by Benbrook ambulance, Garcia said, one with minor injuries and the other as a precaution.
The injured employee was treated and released, Davis said.
No hazardous materials were detected, Garcia said. He said three of the cars contained paper products and two were empty. Aledo VFD assisted Benbrook with the call.
Davis said the 46-car train, on a daily route from Tucson to Dallas, had moved to a sidetrack to let another train go by and was entering the main track when the incident happened.
Thirty-seven of the cars were empty, he said, and only one of the cars derailed was transporting cargo: a load of cement, probably a bulk load in a covered hopper.
Davis said the company will download the event recorder on the locomotive to get a clearer picture, and teams will interview the crew, examine the locomotives and cars, check the tracks and assess all signal aspects.
“Unless it’s a clear-cut cause, it takes time,” he said. “It’s very important to find the cause and reduce derailments.”
By late afternoon the locomotives and railroad cars were out of the track area, Davis said, and workers were repairing about 240 feet of damaged track.
He said the railroad planned to open the line at 9 p.m. Thursday night.
The derailment is the first Benbrook Fire Department has responded to in 30 years, Garcia said, when he joined the department.
He said most of the track has been refurbished in the last three years.