A train wreck in Weber Canyon near Interstate 84 on Wednesday caused a mess likely to take several days to clean up, but no major injuries were reported.
Four individuals were treated for minor injuries after a Union Pacific train rear-ended another, causing a major train derailment in the unincorporated area east of Uintah on Wednesday morning.
Two freight trains headed for California struck each other around 9:30 a.m., according to Weber County Sheriff's Office Lt. Mark Lowther. The collision happened about a mile east of Interstate 84 and the State Road 89 interchange near the mouth of Weber Canyon.
Two steel rail cars were shredded like aluminum cans after the collision tossed them off the tracks and down the steep embankment adjacent to I-84, spilling its animal feed grain load. The mangled metal included parts from several rail cars and locomotives strewn across the accident scene.
A train from Nebraska bound for the California bay area crashed into another freight train from Minnesota headed to California near Bakersfield. The crash happened when the train went around a bend causing three locomotives and five railcars to derail, according to Union Pacific spokesman Aaron Hunt.
"There were some of the individuals (train crew) complaining of leg pains," Hunt said, "but no major injuries."
Hunt said the cause of the crash is under investigation by its team. He said all occupants were on the train that hit the other from behind, Weather does not appear to be a factor in the cause of the accident at this time, he said.
"We do not have any indication as to why it (the collision) happened," Hunt said. "An incident like this is highly irregular."
According to Hunt, two of the five cars spilled mostly feed grain. Both trains were carrying grain.
Chris Simmons, a spokesman for Utah Highway Patrol, said police did not have any indication how long it would take to clear up the crash but believed it would take at least a couple of days, if not more.
"It will have a significant impact on the evening (Wednesday's) commute," Simmons said.
A local Hazmat crew along with the Union Pacific's team was on the scene to clean up the spill and investigate the cause.
One lane of westbound traffic on I-84 from the Mountain Green exit to near the mouth of the canyon was shut down throughout the day to let heavy machinery vehicles enter the scene to remove the derailed trains. The initial debris on the road was quickly cleaned up.
Union Pacific has no plans to re-routed any rail lines, but Hunt said that if the clean up took more than a few days it may effect other trains on that railway corridor.
"Utah is a very important part of our (railway) network," Hunt said.
He said any rail cars that can be salvaged will be put back on the tracks while damaged cars will be shipped off on a flatbed truck.
Contact reporter Cimaron Neugebauer 801-625-4231 or email@example.com Follow him at Twitter at @CimCity