NORTH SALT LAKE — A train derailment at about 3 a.m. Tuesday has stopped some trains on the Utah Transit Authority Frontrunner line from running, and officials don’t expect it to be back to normal until about 2 p.m. today.
The derailment near 1100 North and 1100 West was nothing too serious, said UTA spokesman Remi Barron. All the cars remained upright, despite being off he track.
It happened on a side route just off the main track, said Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt. The three rear cars of a five-car train slipped off the tracks.
The cars were tankers and were being delivered to a customer and were empty, Hunt said. They usually carry ethanol and other alcohols.
After the derailment, Union Pacific brought in crews and specially fitted cranes to right the cars. By late morning, the train had been righted and taken to the station for an investigation.
The work to get the train back on its way affected the UTA rails, which run adjacent to the Union Pacific line. By about 11 a.m., one Frontrunner train was running northbound and one ran southbound.
Until all trains can run again, UTA passengers are being bussed between Clearfield and North Temple, and drivers are stopping at each train station to pick up stranded riders.
“It happened early enough that we were able to get the bus bridge up and running so most people were able to get to work,” Barron said.
Union Pacific does not yet know what caused the derailment, but is investigating. It will look at various components of the track such as ties and the rocky ballasts underneath as well as the wheels on the rail cars and more.
Since 2002, derailments on all Union Pacific lines have dropped by 26 percent, Hunt said. This year alone, the rail line invested $3.6 billion in infrastructure improvement and repair, and it has spent similar amounts in recent years.
“Our railroad travels through 23 states, over 32,000 miles of track and so it’s a very substantial network, and that’s why it’s so capital-intensive,” Hunt said. “All of that is driven by an effort to enhance our track and to operate safely and efficiently. We really work hard to avoid this.”
No derailments have occurred in Davis County since at least 1975, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety and Analysis.