COLEMAN COUNTY – Removal of the twisted metal debris left following the derailment of 13 rail cars near Valera in August of 2016, is underway.

COLEMAN COUNTY – Removal of the twisted metal debris left following the derailment of 13 rail cars near Valera in August of 2016, is underway.

On August 10, 2016, a Texas Pacifico train derailed on sending 13 cars off the tracks adjacent to U.S. Highway 67, about two miles east of Valera in Coleman County. As a result of the derailment, 700 feet of track had to be repaired. The 104-car train was eastbound after loading at the Kasberg Grain Co. in Miles. The train was hauling milo and no injuries were reported.

The removal of the rail cars has taken more than a year, due to weather delays and the settlement of insurance claims, said Elizabeth Grindstaff, spokeswoman for Texas Pacifico Railroad.

“The derailment took a while for insurance to settle,” Grindstaff explained. “Then we had to identify a contractor to remove it. The location of the derailed cars are in a low spot that is affected by rains, and standing water. The contractor has had a hard time getting a dry window to get the needed equipment staged to cut and load the wrecked cars - and not further damage the adjacent land.”

Grindstaff said all 13 rail cars had to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, work continues on the railroad going into San Angelo, Grindstaff said.

“The rail work going on toward San Angelo is part of a larger rail ‘relay’ project where we are replacing older, lighter rail with a heavier welded rail,” she explained. “It's part of our Capital Expenditure Plan. Since all traffic moves in and out of the San Angelo Junction, near Coleman, that rail handles all of the sand cars going west. The heavier rail is critical to the continued dependability of the busy rail line.”

There have been other derailments reported in recent years in the vicinity including on derailment November, 15, 2014, 20 miles east of Ballinger near Talpa reportedly caused by broken rails.