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23-car derailment by Ritzville shuts down Union Pacific line

March 20, 2019

SEATTLE (AP) — The Union Pacific line that runs through Eastern Washington has been shut down since Friday by a 23-car derailment that included a hazardous cargo spill of sodium chlorate and subsequent fire that flared over the weekend.

The Seattle Times reports no one was injured in the Friday incident that Union Pacific reports was triggered by a rock slide and left 11 of the 23 cars derailed inside a tunnel near Ritzville.

The spill of sodium chlorate, a crystalline chemical used in bleaching paper pulp, happened in one train car that derailed outside the tunnel. The state Department of Ecology says the spill and ignition of the chemical occurred in a remote area.

Union Pacific has no estimated time for reopening the railroad line, which runs from the Canadian border to the Columbia River Gorge, and trains have been routed along a line operated by the BNSF Railway.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com