Loaded rail cars break free, ram trailer in Fairbanks

Zaz Hollander
Ute Murphy

Nine flat railroad cars loaded with pipe separated and rolled away during a switching operation at the Alaska Railroad's Fairbanks yard late Monday.

No one was injured, the railroad said in an email Tuesday. The nine loaded flatcars hit a small trailer loaded with sheetrock, rolled over a stack of plywood and shoved into two box delivery trucks.

The cars rolled 672 feet, said railroad spokesman Tim Sullivan. The yard is almost entirely flat, Sullivan said. They didn't roll fast, but they also couldn't be stopped.

"Once it started moving, there wasn't anything they could do," he said.

A locomotive with the nine loaded cars plus six empty ones was en route to Flowline Alaska Inc. to deliver the pipe. The cars separated from the locomotive during a switching operation in what's called a "pull-apart," Sullivan said.

The pipe-loaded cars stopped short of the Spenard Builders Supply building on Phillips Field Road. The railroad is investigating the incident. Service on the section of line in front of Flowline was shut down for cleanup; service was restored by early afternoon, Sullivan said.


Reach Zaz Hollander at zhollander@adn.com or 257-4317.