Pleasantville Derailment

Saturday, December 15

I hadn't been at home very long after my quick look at Amtrak in Osceola before I heard BNSF dispatcher K.R.S. (Kevin Shelen) talking to a train on the Des Moines branch.  The M-WQMDMO (West Quincy - Des Moines) had derailed a couple of cars and a locomotive at Pleasantville.  There was quite a bit of conversation and repeated questioning with what seemed to me to be rather vague answers.  Apparently they'd been trying to do some switching and the rails had gone out from under them.  The mainline was fouled by a derailed car and they were not in a position where they could get back to the remainder of their train, which was blocking a crossing.  I decided to drive over and have a look.

I arrived around noon and located the derailment in the north end of town.  Roadmaster K.C. Turnbull was already on the scene.  Discussion on the radio by this time centered around whether it would be possible for a car department truck to get the cars clear of the mainline or if help from Hulcher would be required.  Kevin had a grain empty near Albia ready to come up the same line to Des Moines and had already let that crew (on BNSF 1010) know that they would be used to pull the cars back off the crossing and would then be relieving the crew of the manifest, dead on the law at 14:00.  Another crew was to come over from Galesburg for the grain train.

I took a walk around the derailment to get some pictures.  It appeared that the rails, which remained upright, had simply pulled out of the ties and spread, dumping several wheelsets on the ground.  The two derailed cars, CSXT 254426 and NAHX 61830, each had trucks with at least one axle off, even with the axles of one truck off on opposite sides of the train.  Both cars were loaded covered hoppers and probably fairly heavy - not the sort of thing that the car department's boom truck would be able to yank out of the way of the mainline.

The power for the train, BNSF 2831 and 7915, was still coupled to derailed 6361 when I arrived.  BNSF 6361 had two wheels of the rear truck inside the rails on the engineer's side of the train and was stopped right on the mainline switch.  The rest of the train stretched out through town, blocking a busy secondary road, G-40.

KRS said that he had called "Service Interruption" and learned that Hulcher personnel and equipment were already nearby and would "be there in ten minutes."  In fact, one of their pickups did arrive shortly, at 12:30, and started scouting places to unload equipment.

At this point I decided to head back home and get some work done.  I met the BNSF's boom truck from Osceola turning the corner at the Hwy. 92/69 junction in Indianola at 1:10.

That's It!