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Two Trains Collide, 10 Cars Derail

December 2, 1989

AMA, La. (AP) _ Two Southern Pacific freight trains collided today, knocked eight cars into a swamp and forced the evacuation of more than 50 people for fear hazardous materials were leaking.

But authorities quickly determined there was no leak, and everyone was allowed to return home, said Capt. Sam Zinna, a sheriff’s spokesman. There were no injuries.

Zinna said it happened as one train with 106 cars en route from Houston to New Orleans on the main line passed a spur line. New Orleans is about 15 miles to the east. He said the train on the spur line was waiting for the main track to clear but was slowly backing and hit the rear cars of the passing train.

Eight tank cars carrying flammable, hazardous materials - including liquefied petroleum gas - were derailed from the main line and fell into the swamp along the tracks on their sides, Zinna said.

Two empty flatcars on the rear of the spur line train were knocked off the tracks but didn’t overturn, he said.

People within one mile were temporarily evacuated. He estimated 50 to 75 people were evacuated from the area, which has a sparse population.

The derailed tank cars will be unloaded into other tank cars before the job of righting them. ″That will probably take all weekend,″ Zinna said.

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