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Coal train cars derail east of Aitkin

About 12 cars on a BNSF coal train derailed east of Aitkin Monday afternoon.

No injuries were reported. 

The train was eastbound coming from Montana and headed to Superior, Wis. when the cars derailed about 2 p.m. 

The train, with three locomotives and 123 loaded cars, typically has two crew members — an engineer and a conductor. 

Amy McBeth, BNSF spokeswoman, said it’s too early to say what may have caused the derailment. Railway crews were headed to the scene to assess the situation and work on the cleanup. 

“We’ll have a better idea once we assess the situation more,” McBeth said. 

One coal car typically carries 116 tons of coal. 

BNSF reports 12 trains are typically on that line within a 24-hour period. BNSF crews will be on site to cleanup spilled coal and inspect the track for any needed repair before it will be open again. Rail cars that can be salvaged may be put back on the rails or scrapped depending on damage.

“So anytime a track is shut down that will cause delays for us and it’s an impact in the community in which we operate so our crews will be working as quickly as possible,” McBeth said.  

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at or 855-5852.