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NTSB: Track Was Washed Out At Doon Derailment Site, Speed Not A Factor

Doon, Iowa — The preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB regarding the train derailment and crude oil spill near Doon says the track was washed out.

Early on the morning of June 22, 2018, a freight train hauling crude oil from Alberta, Canada derailed 33 cars just south of Doon. The BNSF railroad says it appears ten cars leaked oil for a total of 160-thousand gallons. The original estimate was 14 cars and 230-thousand gallons. Some of the crude got into the Little Rock River. The railroad said that over 100,000 gallons were recovered.

The cause of the derailment had been assumed by many to be related to the flooding that was taking place in the area at the time. The preliminary report just released from the NTSB confirms that the area received five to seven inches of rain during the 48 hours prior to the accident, “washing out track and flooding a tributary of the Little Rock River and farm fields adjacent to the derailment location.”

According to the preliminary report, the train’s speed was not a factor. The speed limit for trains in that location is 49 miles per hour. They say the Federal Railroad Administration has determined that the train was going 48 miles per hour “when the train encountered the emergency brake application.”

The report says the information is preliminary and will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation. It also says that additional investigative work to examine parts removed from one of the tank cars is planned at the NTSB laboratories in Washington D.C. NTSB investigators completed on-scene work in Lyon County on July 10.

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