The Union Pacific Railroad has confirmed that one of its trains carrying coal derailed early Tuesday morning about three miles southeast of Gothenburg, Nebraska. The rail company said in a statement that “no one was injured” and that “cleanup has begun, with heavy equipment on site.”
About 31 cars were involved in the derailment, leading to the temporary closure of all three mainline tracks on the railroad. Cleanup crews were able to get one of the tracks “reopened to train traffic at about 8 a.m. CST.” While RawsAlerts reported that a “hazmat crew” was being dispatched to the scene, Union Pacific has denied this, stating “there was no hazmat involved with this derailment.”
A representative from the Gothenburg Police Department declined Straight Arrow News’ request for comment on this story, citing their lack of involvement in the derailment’s cleanup due to it having occurred on Union Pacific’s privately owned land.
Tuesday’s derailment in Nebraska comes just over two weeks after the derailment of a Norfolk Southern train near East Palestine, Ohio, involving 50 cars led to a major chemical spill that prompted evacuations and lingering health concerns for the local community. At least five hazardous chemicals were released into the surrounding area after that accident near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border.
Referring to the situation in East Palestine, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on the same day of this latest Nebraska derailment that the rail industry needs to “move immediately” to make improvements.
This also marks the fourth derailment involving a Union Pacific train to have occurred since 2022 in Dawson County, Nebraska, alone. In May of last year a Union Pacific train carrying coal derailed southeast of Gothenburg, while another incident was reported near the same town in June, and a third happened in November near Lexington.