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Rails damaged, 'large amount' of coal spilled in Douglas County train derailment

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Posted at 12:56 PM, Jun 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-18 23:29:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A train derailment Friday evening in Douglas County, Kansas, has caused "significant" damage to the rails, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office says.

Around 5:10 p.m., deputies learned at least 20 cargo cars detached from the engine of an eastbound coal train on Union Pacific tracks just north of North 1900 Road near U.S. Highway 24 in Lawrence.

The sheriff's office says a "large amount" of coal was spilled in the area, and Grant Township and Douglas County Public Works were informed to barricade the east and west side of North 1900 Road during cleanup.

No injuries were reported in the derailment.

A Union Pacific spokesperson says crews are finishing the track cleanup and restoration process Saturday.

Derailed train cleanup

Video courtesy Tristen Lang

The Lawrence Police Department assisted by using infrared technology to aid the sheriff's office's aerial team in locating any hot spots or fires. Luckily, there were none.

Due to the incident's proximity to the Lawrence Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration was involved in the process. FAA officials granted and coordinated air space for use of the "valuable and potentially life-saving" technology, according to LKPD.

Lawrence police were able to share a live link of the UAV technology with Union Pacific personnel to assist in the company's efforts to form a removal strategy.

A Union Pacific spokesperson told KSHB 41 on Saturday this incident remains under investigation.