APACHE, OK (KSWO) - In a span of about eight hours, two trains derailed in Southwest Oklahoma.
Both trains were operated by Union Pacific. The first happened Monday night south of Ryan in Jefferson County. The second, happened Tuesday morning near Apache. In both cases, no one was hurt.
Officials are still uncertain of what, exactly, caused the derailments. Despite the trains derailing so close together, in terms of both distance and time, officials say they were running on separate rail lines and are unrelated.
Jeff DeGraff, a spokesman for Union Pacific, said the crash South of Apache happened around 4:00 a.m. Tuesday when the train was heading North to Chickasha. Two locomotives and 14 rail cars came off the tracks but fortunately, they weren't carrying anything.
"Any derailment is something we take seriously, whether they're empty cars or loaded cars," DeGraff said. "We are fortunate in this case that we didn't have any product in these cars that could cause any concern for the community. But nonetheless, we take this seriously and we will be addressing the issue."
DeGraff said there was no one injured in the Apache derailment and now they're working to figure out the cause and get the train back up and running as soon as possible.
"We take a look at the track damage, how extensive is the damage, what needs to be done to fix the track, whether that's to replace the rail or fix it in place," DeGraff said. "Then we bring in the heavy machinery to start pulling the rail cars back onto the tracks if they're in good enough condition to do that so we can reassemble the train and get it pulled clear of the area."
As for the derailment in Ryan, that one happened Monday night around 8:00. Twenty-three rail cars came off the tracks on that one, but Jefferson County Sheriff Jeremie Wilson said there were no injuries.
"Where this location is, were rural, there are no residents here, there are no issues and the cars actually stayed within the easement of the railroad company so there was no damage to any property for the landowners," Wilson said. "If this would have happened anywhere else up the lineup north, of course, have Waurika built right on the tracks so it could have been catastrophic, it could have been something where we were dealing with lots more drastic scenarios."
Sheriff Wilson said the tracks are expected to be operational again on Tuesday night.