Aerial view of derailed UP train UEBLTG20.

​Aerial view of derailed UP train UEBLTG20.​​

Union Pacific Railroad Derailment with Hazardous Materials Release and Subsequent Fire

Investigation Details

What Happened

​​​On April 24, 2019, at 12:33 a.m. local time, a southbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) high-hazard flammable key train, UEBLTG20, carrying denatured ethanol (UN1987), derailed in Fort Worth, Texas. The train was 6,122 feet long, weighed 13,230 tons and consisted of three locomotives, two buffer cars, and 96 loaded tank cars. Twenty-six tank cars derailed and three tank cars were breached, leaking 65,270 gallons of denatured ethanol. Several cars caught fire. The released denatured ethanol ignited and formed pool fires and some product entered a tributary of the Trinity River. The train was traveling 26 mph and it was raining at the time of the derailment. UP estimated the damages to be $6,313,217.

What We Found

​The probable cause of the accident is the derailment of Union Pacific Railroad train UEBLTG20 due to a weakened track structure and wash out resulting from a water overflow event due to rain causing Echo Lake to flood. Contributing factors include deferred maintenance of primary and emergency spillways at Echo Lake, and the absence of dynamic weather reporting criteria at Union Pacific Railroad.​