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Log Cars Derail Near Sonora

Several loaded railroad log cars traveling on the historic Sierra Railroad have derailed this morning.

Three loaded log cars, each weighing about 130 tons, are derailed just west of where the tracks cross Campo Seco Road near Lime Kiln Road west of Sonora.

Down the line, two more loaded cars toppled completely over down an embankment. They now sit upside down behind the Mill Villa mobile home park. A section of quickly repaired track is now in place there.

Tons of logs, headed from Arizona to the Sierra Pacific sawmill in Standard, have been traveling on the Sierra Railroad between Oakdale and Standard for about two months now.

The heavy trains have caused a number of derailments on this historic shortline. Railroad CEO and owner Mike Hart says that area is a difficult stretch of track.

“It´s obviously older track and there are sections where the sheer weight of these large cars is causing problems,” he said. Hart said these log trains are the heaviest ever carried over the shortline in the history of the railroad.

The logs are being brought to the Sierra Railroad in Oakdale in 60-car blocks. “We are then breaking that up into four sets of 15 cars then putting 8,000 horsepower of locomotives at the front end,” Hart explained. “Obviously we have some pretty steep grades, so it´s quite a job.”

There were no injuries in the derailment.