The train derailment Saturday near Santa Fe Avenue and East Hatch Road in Hughson will keep Santa Fe closed to vehicle traffic in the area for about a week, a BNSF Railway spokeswoman said Monday afternoon.
The railroad had been working to reopen the road Monday, said Lena Kent, but BNSF, Hughson and Stanislaus County officials agreed it will be in the interest of public safety to keep traffic out while cleanup continues.
About 30 rail cars derailed at about 11:20 Saturday night. All have been moved from the tracks, Kent said, and a number of them remain at the scene, with commodities in them. Though BNSF has begun to slowly move some freight traffic on the tracks, much of the contents of the derailed cars likely will be loaded onto trucks, she said. The rail cars also then must be dismantled.
Because of the dust and debris that will result from the work ahead, it wouldn’t be safe to allow drivers to continue through the area, Kent said. The railroad, city and county are working to establish traffic detours.
Amtrak service along the line might resume Tuesday, Kent said. Sunday, Amtrak officials issued a service alert for its passengers traveling through the San Joaquin Valley.
The BNSF spokeswoman said the city and county have been extremely cooperative in working through the “unfortunate incident.” She also thanked nearby residents for their graciousness, noting that one put out fruit for cleanup crews.
What caused the derailment probably won’t be established anytime soon, Kent said. The investigation, involving the Federal Railroad Administration, continues, and “we look at everything before we determine cause ... and won’t speculate.”
No one was injured when the freight train, heading north to Stockton from Barstow in Southern California, derailed.
Two signal bungalows, which house all the electronic components for the active-warning devices at the rail crossing, were damaged.