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After derailment, rail line opens near Mahnomen

Cleaning up the mess in Mahnomen are crews with speciality contractors that deal with railroad spills and derailment cleanups. Eight tanker cars, each with 20,000 gallons or more of canola oil, were involved in the derailment, though not all cars lost all their oil. Railroad officials were assessing the damage and pumping out the oil on Tuesday. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

Canadian Pacific Railways got their line in Mahnomen opened about 2 a.m. Wednesday as cleanup continued in the derailment of 13 cars on a through train Monday evening.

The 100-car train was hauling freight from Winnipeg to Chicago when 13 cars jumped the track in the industrial part of Mahnomen. Eight of the cars were carrying canola oil, and an undetermined amount leaked out; three grain cars were empty, one flatbed loaded with lumber didn't lose a stick and one car was filled with wheels and axles and other train parts.

"We are still dealing with cleaning up the canola oil, and working with the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) to ensure we do it to their satisfaction," said Jeff Johnson, regional spokesman for Canadian Pacific. "The cars are scheduled to be cut up and scrapped."

The investigation into what caused the derailment isn't complete, so his company is releasing no speculation about speed or other possible factors, Johnson said. But it was a through train, with no scheduled stops near Mahnomen, so the train wasn't traveling at reduced speed.

Once the line was opened early Wednesday, the first several trains ran at reduced speed through the site until it was determined that regular speeds were safe, Johnson said.

Only Canadian Pacific uses the rail line, Johnson said.