Train carrying hazardous material derails in NW Minnesota; no injuries or evacuations reported

A mess of train cars piled up next to a highway
A train derailment along U.S. Highway 59 near Lancaster, Minn., sent about two dozen cars off the tracks on Wednesday.
Courtesy of Lancaster Fire Department

Cleanup work will continue Thursday in northwest Minnesota after a train derailment on Wednesday sent about two dozen cars off the tracks in Kittson County.

Canadian Pacific Kansas City railway said some of the derailed cars were carrying hazardous materials, but in a statement Wednesday night the railway said “the initial assessment by first responders on the scene is that there are no leaks from the rail cars.”

There also were no reports of fire, and no reported injuries in the derailment that happened at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday a few miles southeast of Lancaster, Minn.

The railway did not specify the nature of the hazardous materials. The Lancaster Fire Department said some of the cars were carrying flammable liquids, but that it stayed within those cars.

U.S. Highway 59, which runs alongside the rail line between Lancaster and Lake Bronson, remained closed Thursday morning so crews can work on the cleanup. The Minnesota Department of Transportation said the closure could last two to three days.

“Our emergency response teams, including our hazardous materials experts, are coordinating with the local first responders to assess the incident,” the railway said in its statement Wednesday night.

Gov. Tim Walz said state officials were working with local emergency managers in response to the incident.

The railway said the cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

Wednesday’s derailment happened just over two months after a fiery train derailment caused the evacuation of the western Minnesota city of Raymond.

And six cars from a BNSF train hauling rocks derailed near St. Cloud last weekend.

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