GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) - A BNSF Railway coal train derailed west of Grants Friday afternoon blocking one of the country's major transcontinental rail routes.
No injuries were reported.
BNSF spokesman Joe Faust told KRQE News 13 the derailment happened about 4:45 p.m. and involved 30 empty coal cars.
Heavy equipment was dispatched from Albuquerque to the scene near Prewitt about 20 miles west of Grants to join railroad crews in clearing the wreckage and repairing any track damage.
One track was reopened to traffic about 5 a.m. Saturday, and the second is expected to be back in service around 3 p.m., Faust said.
Video from the scene showed cars piled up and scattered across the right-of-way.
The double-track route is the BNSF's main line from Chicago and Texas to the West Coast and handles scores of freight trains a day.
Amtrak also uses the route, and the westbound Southwest Chief, which departed Albuquerque on time at 4:45 p.m., was caught east of the wreck. An Amtrak spokesperson said the train from Chicago to Los Angeles with about 270 passengers on board returned to Albuquerque arriving by 8:30 p.m.
The passenger train headed west again just before 4 a.m. behind scheduled by 11 hours.
The coal train is believed to have been on its way from a power plant in eastern Arizona to a coal mine in Wyoming.
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