Public Safety

35 Union Pacific cars and two engines derail Thursday morning near Stanwood

A Union Pacific train derailed near Stanwood in Cedar County on Thursday morning, blocking Highway 38, just north of Highway 30, for several hours.

Union Pacific spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said two locomotives and 35 cars derailed at 5 a.m.

Tim Malott, director of the Cedar County Emergency Management Agency, said the cars were carrying “a whole lot of coal,” much of which was spilled when the cars went off the tracks.

No one was injured, Espinoza said.

Malott said the derailment cut off most of the eastbound roads in Stanwood, town of about 660 residents and about one square mile.

“When the cars derailed, all the cars behind the derailment were stuck blocking the railroad crossings,” Malott said. All four of the town’s railroad crossing were blocked.

“County Road 138 — a gravel road — became the only way to get out of Stanwood to the east,” Malott added.

Calls and emails to the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office went unanswered Thursday afternoon.

Malott said tracks were closed and Union Pacific crews were at the site during the day clearing the wreckage and cleaning up the coal spill.

“They’re probably going to be out there around the clock until it’s cleaned up,” he said.

• Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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