High Temperatures Blamed For Train Derailment

June 25, 2005 – Posted at 8:44 p.m. CDT
WALNUT RIDGE, AR – Railroad officials believe high temperatures played a role in the 20 freight car pile up at the intersection of Highway 63 and 91 just outside of Walnut Ridge.
Traffic was crawling Saturday near Walnut Ridge as crews cleaned up debris from Friday night's train derailment.
“We came across and we didn't even know it or we would have probably not come across,” said driver Ruby Haynes of Smithville.
“I want to know, who do we have to send the bill for our gas to?” laughed William Ayers as he waited in traffic.
Officials say to avoid traveling through the area.
“This being a US highway, there's a lot of traffic, it being the weekend. And it's at a major intersection, so traffic is just slow going and the clean up process is slow as well,” said Lawrence County Deputy Sheriff Stan Finley.
Burlington-Northern officials believe that heat warped a rail out of alignment with the rest of the track. The National Weather Service reports that the temperature for the area was 95 degrees at the time the accident happened.
“We'll be out here until Burlington-North gets this cleaned up so we can have safe highway for people to pass through,” said Finley.
Authorities say no hazardous chemicals were released. However, Hazmat teams from Walnut Ridge, Hoxie, Imboden, Paragould and Jonesboro did respond to the derailment.