Texas heat wave blamed for 2 train derailments

The Associated Press

Dallas-Temperatures up to 106 degrees were blamed for warping stretches of railroad track, causing two separate Union Pacific train derailments.

The blistering heat also hampered efforts to fight grass and brush fires that charred hundreds of acres in north Texas, destroyed a home and forced the evacuation of about 100 people from rural Parker County west of Fort Worth.

Yesterday’s temperature in Dallas passed 100 degrees at noon, making it the 28th consecutive triple-digit day.  The city’s high of 106 Saturday was a record for the date.  On the other hand, Dallas’ overnight low of 77 was the first time the city has cooled below 80 since July 19.

Ninety-nine deaths statewide have been blamed on heat-related causes, pushing the nationwide total to 155, including 29 in Louisiana and 19 in Oklahoma.

A high of 108 smothered Shreveport, La., yesterday and Oklahoma City had its 16th straight day of 100-plus readings with a high of 107.

Heat-warped railroad tracks derailed 13 cars of a 112-car freight train about 8 miles north of Fort Worth on Saturday, Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said yesterday.  Nine of the cars carried aluminum ingots and four were empty.  There were no injuries.

Davis blamed it on a “sun kink”, when sudden change in temperature or extreme heat expands the rail and moves it out of alignment.

Hill County sheriff’s Deputy Joe Milligan said the same could be said for another Union Pacific accident on Saturday, a Houston-bound 126-car train carrying coal from Wyoming.  It ran off the tracks near Hillsboro, about 60 miles south of Dallas.  Twelve cars derailed and there were no injuries.

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