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A train of empty cars passes the scene of Saturday’s derailment on Monday afternoon. The derailment scattered coal alongside and onto the frozen St. Louis River upstream of Cloquet. Steve Kuchera / Forum News Service

Railroad reopens as coal train derailment cleanup continues

CLOQUET, Minn. -- The railroad north of Cloquet has reopened to train traffic as crews continue to clean up a 40-car train derailment that dumped more than 4,000 tons of coal along the track and onto the frozen St. Louis River Saturday, Feb. 16.

The tracks reopened to traffic at about midnight Sunday and crews will spend the next week or two scrapping the derailed cars and moving the spilled coal out by rail, BNSF Railways spokesperson Amy McBeth said Monday.

No injuries were reported, but several derailed cars had landed on the frozen river and along its banks.

The exact amount of coal that spilled is unknown.

McBeth said of the 121 loaded coal cars and three locomotives, 40 coal cars derailed at about 11:30 a.m. Saturday several miles north of Cloquet and along the St. Louis River.

The cleanup process will be led by BNSF.