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Freight train carrying iron ore derails in Mojave Desert

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Posted at 2:41 PM, Mar 27, 2023

BAKER, Calif. (AP) — A long freight train carrying iron ore derailed in a remote area of the Mojave Desert on Monday but there were no injuries, authorities said.

Fifty-five rail cars loaded with iron ore and two locomotives derailed around 8:30 a.m. in the Mojave National Preserve, Union Pacific spokesperson Daryl Bjoraas said in emails to The Associated Press.

“I can confirm that the crew was not hurt," Bjoraas wrote. ”We are still investigating what led up to the incident."

Bjorass said that iron ore, part of the steel-making process, spilled from the rail cars but is not a hazardous material.

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District said that there were no injuries and there was no fire. One locomotive had a minor fuel leak.

“No current threat to public or environment,” the district tweeted.

The derailment occurred near Kelso Depot, a historic railroad site developed in the early 1900s at the bottom of steep grade about 160 miles (257 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles.

According to the National Park Service, “helper engines” were stationed at Kelso to help trains climb the grade. Kelso also had a source of water needed by steam engines.