The most courteous derailment one could possibly ask for.

Up in Trego, our neighboring railroads have been far better mannered than the stretch of Norfolk Southern adjacent to the folks of East Palestine, Ohio.

This past Tuesday (2023-03-07), Mission Mountain Railroad locomotive WAMX 3946 had a slight derailment. The leading truck of the southbound locomotive jumped the track halfway through the icy crossing where its line meets Fortine Creek Road, and proceeded to run some 130 yards before coming to rest, nearly clearing the intersection.

The point at which the locomotive’s leading truck leapt the track, nearly halfway through its crossing with Fortine Creek Road.
The partially derailed locomotive at rest. Note that only the leading truck has left the rails.
The locomotive’s leading truck swiftly drifted to the west upon leading the rails, its eastern wheels catching on the inside of the western rail, not 10 yards from the point it jumped the tracks.

Both witnesses and TFS VFD responders suspect that ice buildup between the tracks was what led to the partial derailment. A BNSF worker passing through the intersection postulated that, while ice buildup alone might be responsible, damage to the flange of a leading wheel could have contributed.

Note that BNSF is an unrelated railroad – Mission Mountain Railroad is separately administered, though it has leased line from BNSF in past.

The TFS Volunteer Fire Department responded swiftly, putting up signage within 2 hrs of the incident, warning drivers of the narrowed crossing both above and below the tracks, as well as placing traffic cones at the crossing itself.

As can be seen, Trego drivers took this in stride, and made use of the 3/4ths of a lane available to them, and (cautiously) used the crossing, despite the flashing red lights of the level crossing signal.

The train was hauling 5 cars of Canadian lumber southwards, and was cleared from the line by the following day. One Trego local at the scene commented that, in all his years here, that train has passed by each day without issue.

Not a bad track record – and it’d be hard to find a derailment any politer than this.

I think we’d all rather take this situation over that of East Palestine, Ohio.

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