WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 03, 2010, 01:10 PM

Internal defect in track causes cars to derail from train in Leonard, ND

Leonard, ND (WDAY TV) - Crews in Leonard are scrambling to get soy beans to their destination and a train back on the tracks. An overnight train derailment left 4 rail cars mangled right on Main Street. No one was injured. The Red River Valley and Western Rail company is wondering if what caused the crash should have been caught by inspectors.

Suzie Waxler was serving drinks at a downtown bar, when around 10-clock, what she heard was more than just a train cruising by.

Suzie Waxler: "When the bar started shaking, everyone kind of freaked out and ran out the door to see what was going on."

That sound was 12-hundred bushels of soybeans spilling all over Railroad Avenue.

Suzie Waxler: "Why did it happen, how could it happen. We have trains going by all the time and it's never happened."

Officials from the rail company say the track had an internal defect that caused the track to buckle under the weight of the 78-car train. A defect they say inspectors couldn't have seen.

Cal Gruebele: "The defective rail is really something you really can’t see with the naked eye when it’s internal like that. And we inspect these tracks weekly at a minimum. A track inspector is through here weekly."

The company inspects its primary lines twice a year with a machine that detects internal problems. Since this is not a primary line, it hasn't seen an inspection for many years says the company.

Around 30 workers are filling up trucks with the spilled soybeans and taking them to nearby Casselton to be processed.

Suzie Waxler: "I had never seen a train derailment before, definitely the first time."

As for the people in town, they're just waiting to get their commute across the tracks back to normal. The damage of the derailment is estimated at about 90-thousand dollars. The company says it will take about two days to get the rail working again.