Crime - Sacto 911

Freight train carrying flour and tomato sauce derails next to Cosumnes River

A Union Pacific freight train carrying flour and tomato sauce derailed from its tracks and sent cars tumbling into the water Friday afternoon in south Sacramento County next to the Cosumnes River.

A Union Pacific spokesman said the 33-car train was northbound on an elevated berm and train trestle adjacent to Dillard Road and Highway 99 when it derailed around 12:45 p.m.

Twenty-two of the cars left the tracks, and most of them landed in a flooded area adjacent to the Cosumnes River, UP spokesman Justin Jacobs said.

Officials say they do not yet know the cause of the derailment, pending investigation by UP inspectors. Track damage, though, is extensive, Jacobs said. Three crew members were on the train. There were no injuries aboard the train, en route from Tracy to Roseville.

The train cars appear to have tumbled into a flooded field just south of the Cosumnes River, which has overflowed its banks and spread out on adjacent land.

There had been initial reports of leakage into the water. Sacramento City Fire Department hazardous materials teams were on site Friday afternoon. Aerial photos of the train showed a red substance flowing from one car into the water.

However, officials with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said the tomato sauce and paste is in cans that do not appear to have broken open. Union Pacific officials began removing the cans from the train cars, a department spokeswoman said.

UP spokesman Jacobs said crews stopped working near nightfall, and would return Saturday morning to begin removing the train cars and start work on repairing the tracks. Jacobs offered no time frame for finishing that work.

“The weather will make this more challenging,” he said. The Cosumnes River is expected to spread further beyond its banks during the night, causing rising water at the nearby train derailment site. “Our goal is a safe and efficient cleanup.”

Southbound traffic on nearby Highway 99 slowed to a crawl Friday afternoon as far north as Sheldon Road in Elk Grove.

Nashelly Chavez: 916-321-1188, @nashellytweets

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