SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) - A freight train with new automobiles in its manifest derailed early Saturday scattering auto haulers along the main line south of Socorro.
No injuries or hazardous materials were reported in the crash that happened on the BNSF Railway 18 miles south of Socorro around 5 a.m.
New Mexico State Police reported early indications a broken rail may have caused the initial derailment with additional rail cars jackknifing against that wreckage. A railroad spokesman later said it's unclear if the rail broke before or because of the derailment.
Photos from the scene show about 20 freight cars stacked up in the foothills above the Rio Grande floodplain and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Preserve. Many of them are two- or three-deck auto haulers that can carry as many as two dozen smaller cars each.
Battered Volkswagens were visible inside some of the cars.
A refuge spokesperson said operations there were not directly affected although a section of State Road 1 leading from south of the visitors center to near Interstate 25 was closed.
Refuge personnel also were working with railroad contractors to minimize environmental damage and any threats to wildlife from cleaning up the wreck and repairing the track.
The train originated in El Paso on Saturday and was headed to the railroad's freight yard in Belen.
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