Amtrak’s California Zephyr experienced another derailment, this time in Nebraska on Friday.
At about 8:50 a.m. CDT Friday, a portion of a construction crane at a grain elevator obstructed the BNSF Railway Co., tracks and caused an Amtrak train to become disabled near Benkelman, Neb., not far from the Nebraska-Kansas-Colorado border.
Amtrak service in the Eastern US came to a standstill due to Hurricane Irene this weekend
Both of the train’s locomotives left the rails, along with five railcars. The remainder of the ten-car train remained upright and in line. There were no reports of life-threatening injuries to the 175 passengers or the train’s 17 crew members. Some passengers and crew were taken to three area hospitals, but most were treated and released.
Train 6, the eastbound California Zephyr, was enroute from Emeryville, Calif., to Chicago, departing the San Francisco Bay area on August 24. Passengers were taken from the scene to a high school to be cared for and were later transported east to their destination by chartered motorcoaches.
As a result of this incident and other operational issues, Amtrak has suspended operation of Train 6, the eastbound California Zephyr from Emeryville and Train 5, the westbound California Zephyr from Chicago through the originations of August 28. This will allow Amtrak to deploy rail equipment and train crews to resume California Zephyr service for the complete route with the originations of August 29.