Monday Derailment in Centralia Caused by Slow-Speed Collision

By The Chronicle

A derailment that snarled traffic for several hours Monday in Centralia was caused by one train backing up into another while switching tracks, BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said Wednesday.

“The BNSF train at a slow rate of speed backed into the Union Pacific train,” he said.

The incident is under investigation.

The slow-speed collision happened on a side track off the main lines and caused one car on the BNSF train and six on the Union Pacific train to derail.

No injuries were reported and no hazardous materials were involved, Melonas said.

The incident began about about 3 p.m. Monday.

“We opened both main lines 9:30 the night of the incident,” Melonas said.

Approximately 50 to 60 trains run on the BNSF lines through Centralia each day, he said. BNSF owns the lines but has agreements allowing Union Pacific and Amtrak trains to use them as well.

BNSF is working to repair a portion of the side track that was damaged, but that work will not affect train traffic, Melonas said.

Jared Wenzelburger /