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Fifty train cars carrying coal derailed at about 11:48 p.m. Sunday in the Sylvan Township, west of Pillager near County Road 101 and the Bigwater Addition Estates. Jessie Perrine/Forum News Service

50 coal train cars derail in Pillager

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PILLAGER, Minn. — Coal and crushed metal littered the train tracks early Monday as crews worked to clear the scene of a massive train derailment near Pillager.

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Fifty train cars carrying coal derailed at about 11:48 p.m. Sunday in Sylvan Township, west of Pillager near County Road 101 and the Bigwater Addition Estates.

No one was hurt and the incident did not involve any hazardous material or pose a threat to public safety, according to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

At about 9 a.m. Monday morning, several cleanup crews were still on scene working to clear the mess.

Coal piled higher than train cars in some places along Hazel Avenue, a normally quiet side street. Train cars sat smashed together. Sounds of crushed metal could be heard as crews worked to clear the massive stretch of coal and metal pieces.

Railroad officials on scene declined to comment.

The following intersections are currently closed while cleanup and realignment efforts are underway: Bigwater Drive SW at County Road 101 (132nd St) and Bigwater Drive SW at Arrowhead Dr SW. Access to this area using 45th AVE SW and Lake Placid Blvd SW are still available.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office has requested that residents stay out of the affected area while crews continue with cleanup efforts over the next several days. The investigation continues with the sheriff’s office and BNSF Railway Company officials.

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