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Friday, May 6, 2016

Train collision clean-up continues

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

(Photo)
Clean-up continues at Mammoth Spring State Park after the train collision of June 3. Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesperson Joe Faust said, although some debris and train cars may still be around or near the park, residents and tourists should know the park is safe. Mammoth Spring State Park Superintendent Dave Jackson said all of the park is open expect Spring Trail from the dam to the depot.
MAMMOTH SPRING -- Business is back to normal for trains passing near Mammoth Spring State Park. This comes after a June 3 train wreck where two trains collided and 18 cars landed in or near the park with three empty train cars in Spring Lake.

On June 9, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) spokesperson Joe Faust said, "We are still investigating the cause of the accident. We have returned our train lines to their normal schedules."

Faust said he was not sure if all the cars have been removed from near the park. "If there are still train cars or debris from the accident, area residents need to understand they pose no threat and are not dangerous," Faust said.

He said some of the train cars that derailed are still being evaluated to see where, and if they can be sent somewhere to be repaired.

Although the trains may be running as normal, the state park is still not 100 percent back to normal.

"A portion of the Spring Trail is still closed due to re-construction in the area," Park Superintendent Dave Jackson said. This portion of the trail is from the dam to the depot.

Jackson said approximately 750 feet of sidewalk will have to be replaced. He said he did not know how long the clean-up crews would be there or how long it would take for the sidewalks to be rebuilt.

The park incurred other damage due to the train collision including 500 feet of six-feet high chain link fence.

"We are currently negotiating with the railroad to replace 1,200 feet of the fence. Although the accident did not destroy that much fence, it has been there since 1975 and for two years Arkansas State Parks has been trying to get a permit from the railroad to replace the fence. We think this would be the perfect opportunity to do so," Jackson said.

He said three full-sized Sycamore trees were destroyed in the wreck and the railroad had already replaced the trees with five new trees. "This should fill in the gap where our trees were," he said.

He said a couple of Purple Martin bird houses were destroyed and have been replaced by the railroad.

"From the day of the wreck BNSF has been very cooperative. They seem eager to please," Jackson said.

The park superintendent did say he was a little concerned about two train wrecks in less than a month so close to the park and in the park.

The train that derailed May 6 was a southbound BNSF train where 14 train cars ran off the tracks under the Highway 63 underpass near the state park.

"It's my understanding, that it has been 35 years since a train derailed this close to the park," Jackson said.

He said the park is open and invites everyone to the park.



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