FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — Authorities are on the scene of a bridge that washed out in Fridley due to area flooding and likely caused a train derailment early Saturday morning.
According to Anoka County Dispatch, emergency crews received a call at about 7:09 a.m. that several train cars had derailed, including the locomotive, over Rice Creek in Fridley. Rice Creek feeds from Rice Lake into the Mississippi River.
The train is from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe company. At least two workers have been injured, but there are no other reports of serious injuries at this time.
BNSF Spokesperson Amy McBeth said it appears a washout occurred as a result of heavy rains in the area and likely caused the train derailment. The washout was west of the railroad bridge, which was damaged as a result of the derailment.
McBeth said 17 cars, including two locomotives, derailed Saturday morning. An engineer and conductor were the only people on the train when it derailed. They were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The spokesperson said the train had a total of 110 cars and three locomotives. The spokesperson also said about 50 trains use that route on a daily basis. The tracks there will be out of service “for a while” as crews work to clear cars, repair the tracks and conduct an investigation to determine how exactly the train derailed.
The spokesperson said the train was carrying corn from Minnesota to North Dakota. Fridley Police are also advising no recreational use of the creek west of University Avenue.
A witness at the scene said the derailment woke him and many other residents nearby out of bed.
“The whole trail is filled with corn and the whole bridge is collapsed. Two bridges are completely collapsed,” said William Vicenko, a witness at the scene. “The damage is pretty extensive. A lot of trains fell off the tracks. It was like 7:30 in the morning and it woke me right up out of bed. It’s crazy.”
Authorities have set up booms at the mouth where the creek meets the Mississippi River to catch diesel from the derailed locomotive. Crews are working hard to prevent fuel from spilling into the river.
AAn official with Metro Transit said the Northstar Commuter Rail service between Big Lake and Minneapolis has been canceled through Tuesday morning due to the derailment. The cancellation interrupts six regularly scheduled trains, three that go each way, between Minneapolis and the northwest metro.
The service also won’t be available for commuters attending Twins games scheduled through Monday. Metro Transit Spokesman John Siqveland said more than 1,000 people use the rail line for special service to Twins games. He also says the Fridley station will be closed until further notice while express bus services will continue to serve Park and Ride lots at Anoka Station, Coon Rapids-Riverdale Station, and at the Fridley station.