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Train derailed at CHS in South Dakota

MITCHELL, S.D. - CHS Farmers Alliance is ready to get back on track after two train cars derailed but remained upright. At about 9 a.m. Tuesday, two Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail cars struck a piece of maintenance equipment that was left on C...

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Workers with RJ Corman Derailment Services, LLC, respond to an incident Tuesday night near the CHS Farmers Alliance grain elevator in Mitchell. No other information was immediately available. (Caitlynn Peetz/Repbulic)

MITCHELL, S.D. - CHS Farmers Alliance is ready to get back on track after two train cars derailed but remained upright.

At about 9 a.m. Tuesday, two Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail cars struck a piece of maintenance equipment that was left on CHS' track about one-third of a mile north of the CHS office at 1800 Elevator Rd. in western Mitchell. The trains came off the track when the axles slid off the rails, CHS General Manager Jim Morken said Wednesday.

The train cars were empty, as CHS planned on loading them with grain Tuesday morning, so there was no spillage.

"To get the cars back on the rails, if they're empty in a situation like this, if they don't tip over, it's a fairly straightforward, simple process," Morken said. "Where it gets messy is if they're loaded and then they tip, and then we have to clean up product and the cars get damaged."

The incident put a brake on CHS' rail business for a day. BNSF called in contractors to get the train back on the line and then sent personnel to inspect the cars and the track. Those workers waited until about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to give CHS the green light to resume business, Morken said.

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"The actual process doesn't take quite that long, but you want to make sure everything is in good condition before you begin loading again," Morken said.

CHS' other business processes were unaffected.

Morken said the railroad is primarily a BNSF line. The number of trains to load varies by the season, with the line busier around harvest time. This was the last train his company planned to load for the week, so the interruption was not too serious.

"These things, you still don't want them to happen, but this one was certainly not a real serious incident, anyway."

Morken said the two cars were cleared to continue normal operations and would be filled with grain later Wednesday morning.

Related Topics: SOUTH DAKOTA
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“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.