Derailment at Yarmony, Colorado
A little after 2pm on Saturday, Nov 4th, 2000, a westbound, light engine movement sideswiped an eastbound, loaded coal train.  The derailment occurred at the west switch of Yarmony siding.  The westbound EDVGJ-04 with 8 units hit the CWELXR-31, an eastbound, loaded coal train, a few cars behind the mid-train distributed power.  It was reported that four of the coal cars were derailed, but I could not see how many because of limited access to the south of the tracks due to the river.  To familiarize yourself with the derailment location check out this map of Yarmony and the general area on Topozone.com.

There were 3 engines derailed out of the eight total on the EDVGJ-04.  This was a light engine move of coal train power between Denver and Grand Junction, Colorado.  The lead unit, UP 7193 was leaning at a 30-35 degree angle west of the switch and the front end was buried up to the deck.  The cab was also quite mangled with the headlight now pointing nearly straight up, but eerily still on, along with the one remaining ditch light on the engineer's side of the cab.  The second unit, UP 8029, was leaning about 10-15 degrees and was mostly past the switch.  The third unit, SP 359, had the front truck derailed but was upright.  The remaining 5 units were untouched.

Reports at the site indicated that both crewman from the EDVGJ were okay and able to move under their own power.  The engineer had a few scratches and the conductor had a few gashes, including some to the head, but medical staff from Eagle County had checked them out and cleared them to ride in a crew van to Vail Hospital for a more thorough check-up.  They were sitting down between the second and third units on the side of the hill when the crew van arrived around 16:20 or so.

I will not speculate on why the accident occurred.  Both trains were entering Yarmony at about the same time though as far as I understand.  The light engine movement was in the siding and the coal train was on the main line.  We'll have to wait for the official word.  Thankfully, all the people involved were okay.

There was heavy scanner traffic with MOW supervisors calling their people in to help and corridor managers asking that the locomotives involved have their info downloaded ASAP.  It seemed that most of the MOW people were out hunting, so things didn't get hopping until it was dark and most of those guys had returned home.  There is very little cell service in this part of Colorado and no phones near the derailment site, so the only form of communication is via the radios.  I think half of those conversations would have usually been more private.

A work train was assembled in Bond using two of the units from the Craig Branch local which arrived in Bond about 12:45 that Saturday.  SP 148 & 314 were on the west end of a flatcar of panel track, 6 hoppers full of ballast, a boxcar, and the two flatcars with the sideboom bulldozers that are usually stationed at Bond.  Reports also indicated a work train left Denver with most of the former DRGW equipment in tow.

I overheard that track damage included the switch machine at West Yarmony and approximately 25 or so ties. Estimates were that the mainline would be reopened around midnight or so, but revenue trains did not pass over until Sunday afternoon. The track was taken out of service between Center Bond and East Radium to facilitate the movement of MOW equipment. A hi-rail vehicle was supposed to go get a crew at Gore and there was an empty coal train parked at East Bond, but it was already past the derailment. Otherwise, no other trains were affected in the immediate area.  Town of Avon and Eagle County Fire/Rescue were on the scene in case fuel leaks became a problem. 


UP 7193 & 8029 are completely off the rail and partially buried.  Farmers take note, railroad locomotives make decent plows.
Notice the headlight pointing up and the twist in the cab.  The rear door was still available to exit though and the safety glass seemed to work too.
It appears that about a foot or more of the cab was crushed inward on the conductor's side.  Notice the end of a derailed coal car above the cab of UP 7193 and a large piece of the sill sticking out of the cab.  It is amazing that the crew did not receive more serious injuries.

The front truck of the third unit (SP 359) is just tipped off the rails and should be easy to get back on the rail.  The other two could be some fun for MOW crews.

In this image you can see just how close the EDVDJ came to hitting the mid-train distributed power.  Notice that the third unit is nearly on the mainline!

A view from above.  You can see how far off the rails the two lead units are compared to the coal train on the main line.

This is just a small part of the emergency equipment responding to the derailment from Eagle County and the Town of Avon.  Up on the road were two fire trucks including a hazmat unit and three ambulances.

All of these images were taken with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
Additional photos from slides taken after the derailment and during the clean-up.


 
MWR in Colorado
 



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