Train wreck

COLORADO SPRINGS — A Union Pacific Railroad train, transporting equipment from Fort Carson, derailed on Monday near the El Paso County jail along Las Vegas Street. Despite the considerable impact, with 13 cars derailed and five suffering catastrophic damage, federal authorities have decided not to pursue an investigation.

Lt. Col. Joseph Payton, spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, reported that the derailed cars were ferrying 15 pieces of equipment belonging to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team. This team had been stationed at the Fort Irwin National Training Center in California. Fortunately, the train was devoid of weapons or any hazardous materials, and no injuries were reported in the aftermath of the accident.

By Wednesday, the area was abuzz with activity. Crews were busy on site, not only attending to the derailed Fort Carson trucks but also working diligently to restore the railroad’s functionality. Some of the military vehicles appeared salvageable post-crash, albeit requiring efforts to reposition them upright.

Brandy Gill, Fort Carson’s spokeswoman, conveyed optimism about the situation, stating, “We anticipate all vehicles to return to the base within the next 24 to 48 hours.” However, she also highlighted the necessity of a comprehensive inspection to gauge the extent of the damage.

While such incidents often attract federal scrutiny, this derailment seems to be an exception. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) clarified its stance, mentioning it would not investigate the incident as its focus is primarily on events that present potential nationwide safety concerns. Similarly, the Federal Rail Administration has chosen to abstain from investigating, citing that the incident doesn’t align with their specified criteria for such inquiries. The onus now rests on Union Pacific to document the occurrence, with a mandate to file a report within 30 days following the month of the incident.

Although the derailment’s exact cause remains undisclosed, its repercussions echo in the local energy sector. Colorado Springs Utilities, which relies on train deliveries for coal supplies, foresees a 10-day halt on coal consignments to its Ray Nixon Power Plant located south of Fountain. However, spokesman Steve Berry reassured, “We have a stockpile of coal to last between 130 to 140 days,” suggesting minimal disruption to power services for local residents.

Residents and local authorities alike await further updates, with hopes for swift restoration and minimal long-term impacts.