Train derailment near Hannibal

Train derailment clean up continues / Melissa Shriver

UPDATED: May 6 at 11:32 a.m.

May 9 through 13, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's contractor, Chester Bross Construction, will have traffic reduced to one lane just south of Hannibal near Continental Cement to clean up salvage box cars and miscellaneous debris from the derailment which occurred in April.

Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

Minor delays should be expected. Questions about this or others on state highways can be directed to MoDOT's customer service center at 1-888 ASK MODOT or visit our website at


UPDATED: May 2 at 1:55 p.m.

KHQA's Melissa Shriver tells us that salvage crews are on location working on clean up at the site of last month's train derailment.

They have managed to move the remaining cars off the river side of the tracks and onto the West side of Route 79.

There are more than a dozen cars in that location while crews work to remove the rest of the contents of each car.

We'll continue to follow this story as clean up progresses, so check back to this story frequently.


UPDATED: May 2 at 10:25 a.m.

BNSF is still cleaning up after the train derailment last month.

Cars are still off the tracks in the area.

BNSF spokesperson Andy Williams tells KHQA the contents of the train cars had already been unloaded. But when crews attempted to move the derailed cars from the area, the Mississippi river rose above flood stage.

Flooding now has the clean-up on pause until water levels fall again.

River levels are also causing trouble for BNSF's rail network. Water is over tracks near Canton and Keokuk. But Williams says trains are being rerouted around the problem areas.


UPDATED: April 20 at 10:45 p.m.

Crews have placed 22 of the derailed cars back on the tracks.

They will work on the 8 cars that tipped over and BNSF Spokesman Andy Williams says those cars will be uprighted Wednesday.

Williams says the tracks will be reopened by 6 p.m. Wednesday.


UPDATED: April 19 at 5:30p.m.

Crews face a long clean-up after a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailed South of Hannibal.

The accident happened around noon today near Continental Cement on Highway 79. More than 30 rail cars derailed, some coming off their wheels, and others toppling over towards the Mississippi River. Here the train cars left the tracks with such force that dirt was thrown onto Route 79.

Marion County Emergency Management Director John Hark said, "Let's just say I wouldn't have wanted to be riding on that train, especially one of those cars."

Melissa Shriver talked with the security guard at Continental Cement who witnessed the derailment. He said he had looked down to do some paperwork and looked up in time to see the train cars overturn, like they were in slow motion.

A BNSF spokeperson says the exact cause of the train derailment is under investigation at this time.

This Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train was headed North from St. Louis hauling a mixed load of materials, mostly wheat and flour when a section of it overturned. But it was five particular train cars that caught the attention of area emergency responders.

Hark said, "We found out we were dealing with five tanker cars with hazardous material. But those tankers have not leaked and are upright."

We've learned they were hauling a flamable chemical called diethyketone. But again, nothing was spilled, since the tanker cars carrying the material never overturned.

There's no word on exactly how long it will take to clear the rail cars and repair the damaged tracks.


UPDATED: April 19 at 3:31 p.m.

In a release, MoDOT says that traffic is open to a narrow two lanes on Route 79 just south of Hannibal, near Continental Cement, until Burlington Northern Santa Fe wreckage and salvage crews are mobilized to the area to cleanup the 15 to 20 car train derailment.

Slow travel speed is recommended through the derailment and work zone area. Please use extra caution when traveling through the area.

While BNSF crews are working, the road could be reduced to one lane traffic and/or temporarily closed to traffic for brief intervals through the night to clean up the wreckage near the road. Some delays should be expected and alternate routes are recommended. It is estimated all lanes should be open to traffic in approximately 18 hours or by early Wednesday, April 20.

Questions about this or others on state highways can be directed to MoDOT's customer service center at 1-888-ASK-MODOT or visit their website at


UPDATED: April 19 at 1:45 p.m.

Andy Williams, BNSF Railroad's Director of Public Affairs told KHQA, that the train was coming up from St. Louis to West Quincy. It was hauling a mixed load of materials. He says 18 cars derailed and no hazardous materials spilled.

MoDot crews are now clearing the northbound lanes of highway 79. KHQA spoke with Sheriff Paul Forney, he says there was no signs of foul play involved.


UPDATED: April 19 at 1:30 p.m.

Crews were concered about 5 tank cars that were a part of that train. They were full of hazardous materials. But those cars did not tip over and were not damaged.


UPDATED: April 19 at 1:00 p.m.

KHQA's Melissa Shriver and Chad Douglas are on the scene right along side BNSF crews.

They are now estimating that more than 20 covered hopper cars are on their sides.

Interestingly, some of the cars are off of their wheels ... leaving the wheels on the tracks.

There were hazmat cars attached to this train, however, they are all upright and not in any danger at this time. There is only small amounts of grain on the ground near the overturned cars.

The train tracks are torn up in many places. In several places, the train cars left the tracks with such force that dirt was thrown onto Route 79.

Authorities, including Hannibal's Emergency Management Director John Hark, are directing traffic around the dirt and debris on 79. Be prepared for a slight delay in travel.

Stay tuned for more information.


UPDATED: April 19 at 12:24 p.m.

Bill Shuler with KHMO radio in Hannibal has called and confirmed the train derailment.

He tells us that the train involved belongs to Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Four covered hopper cars are on their side off the rail on the east side of the tracks near the river.

Missouri's Route 79 appears to be open.

We will bring you more information shortly.


KHQA has received several calls telling us that there was a train derailment around 12 p.m. Tuesday near Continental Cement close to Route 79 in Ralls Co., Missouri.

The Ralls County Sheriff's office has said they have no information at this time and cannot confirm a derailment.

We were able to speak with a representative of Continental Cement and they confirmed the derailment, however, it is not one of their trains.

No injuries have been reported at this time, and we will continue to bring you information as it filters in.

KHQA's Melissa Shriver and Chad Douglas will arrive on the scene shortly.