No estimate for repair of UP bridge in Tempe, resumption of service to Phoenix (updated)

Derailment that triggered fire, partial collapse of bridge was second at site in just over a month
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Railcars are scattered around the site of a Union Pacific derailment, fire, and bridge collapse in Tempe, Ariz., on Wednesday.
Sol Tucker

Union Pacific's route to Phoenix will be cut off indefinitely following Wednesday’s derailment and fire which led to a partial collapse of the 108-year old Salt River bridge in Tempe, Ariz., but the railroad says a reroute plan is in place to continue to serve customers. Shipments are subject to delays of up to 72 hours because of the reroute.

The Arizona Republic reports in a paywalled article that the railroad had no estimate for reopening the bridge, on a branch that connects to UP’s ex-Southern Pacific Sunset Route southeast of Phoenix in Picacho, Ariz. Formerly a through route, the western section was shut down in 1995. The Bridgehunter website describes the bridge as a nine-span Pratt through truss bridge was built in 1915 with spans manufactured in 1912; the southernmost span collapsed after Wednesday morning’s accident.

Eight to 10 cars derailed in the accident which occurred about 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Multiple news sources report there was another derailment on the bridge June 26, but that the bridge was inspected on July 9. Authorities now say one train crew member was treated for smoke inhalation, and one firefighter was treated for dehydration, and that one of the tank cars carrying the chemical cyclohexane, used as a solvent and in making nylon, is leaking into a storm drain. Tempe Beach Park, adjacent to the derailment site, is closed until further notice. Valley Metro light rail service through the area has been shut down by the derailment, with the transit agency running a bus bridge around the closure.

— Updated at 9:20 a.m. CDT with information on UP rerouting.
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