Investigators looking into cause of Minnesota UP derailment

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Ellendale, Minn.
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ELLENDALE, Minn. — Investigators are looking into why a 146-car Union Pacific freight train en route from St. Paul, Minn. to North Platte, Neb., derailed at least 11 cars Friday morning just south of Ellendale Friday morning, shutting down Union Pacific’s Spine Line between St. Paul and Mason City, Iowa. The derailment occurred around 5:45 a.m. Nov. 11 and forced the evacuation of Ellendale when material began leaking from a tank car. One car carrying liquid propane has a tear; the other, containing butane, was being evaluated but did not rupture, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Officials went door-to-door early in the day to evacuate residents within a one-mile radius as a precaution. No one was injured, Union Pacific says. The evacuation was rescinded in the afternoon but remained in place in a 400-foot “hot zone” around the derailment. The Federal Aviation Administration also placed a two-mile restriction on airspace above the site.

“Union Pacific’s priority is identifying the cause of the leak and maintaining it to preserve public safety,” a UP statement said.

Ellendale is a town of about 700 people on UP’s former Rock Island Albert Lea Subdivision. It connects with the Mason City Subdivision to form part of the “Spine Line” from St. Paul to Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Kan.
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