23 Aug 2014
71° Overcast

Fridley Tracks Nearly Fixed Where Freight Train Derailed

But Fridley Station will remain closed until Tuesday evening's special Twins trains.

Update (11:45 p.m. Monday): Northstar trains will not run Tuesday morning. See also:
PHOTOS: First Northstar Trains Carry Passengers across Fridley Derail Site

Original post (5 p.m. Monday):Crews working around the clock at the site of Saturday's will have one set of tracks ready for service Monday night and the other Tuesday morning.

That's if estimates hold for Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad staff and contractors completing repairs to the roadbed, bridge and track. 

Metro Transit expects Northstar Commuter Rail service to resume Tuesday morning—but without service to Fridley station, which will remain closed until the special Tuesday evening train to the Minnesota Twins game, according to Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland.

(There is a chance of using a Plan-B "bus bridge," with Northstar passengers disembarking at Coon Rapids and riding buses into downtown Minneapolis.)

Repairs Night and Day
Two of three engines and 17 cars left the track Saturday morning where the rail line crosses Rice Creek just east of Locke Lake in Fridley, MN.

Crews spent Sunday clearing the fallen cars and making track repairs, according to BNSF spokesperson Amy McBeth. Monday's work includes restoring the roadbed and installing new track panels.

On Monday afternoon more than a dozen rail cars arrived full of rock to serve as ballast in the restored roadbed. A conveyor system dumped the rock into place at the derailment site.

The locomotives and most of the fallen cars are gone, but a few whole cars remain on the west side of the tracks along Locke Lake, and large sections of metal from the cars waits on the east side of the tracks to be hauled away.

Fridley Station Stays Closed

Fridley Station will stay closed longer than others on the Northstar route because of anticipated congestion from backed-up freight traffic once the tracks re-open.

Fridley Station should be open for normal service Wednesday morning, Siqveland said.

Metro Transit will have staff at Fridley Station Tuesday morning to notify commuters that there is no Northstar service from Fridley—if possible, before they get out of their cars, Siqveland said.

Corn Spilled
Joe Gonsior, a retiree from the City of Fridley's Street Department and one of about a dozen spectators watching repair work from Plaza Park, said he doesn't remember a similar incident in the 52 years he's lived in Fridley.

Gonsior said with a laugh that the corn that spilled from the derailed train "is good for the geese. They'll reproduce and we'll have a million next year."

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