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Union Pacific Train Derails Near Eloy

Union Pacific officials say they’ve partially reopened a major rail line between Phoenix and Tucson after a train derailed Tuesday. A few dozen cargo train cars toppled over during a possible microburst wind storm.

Thirty-nine empty cargo cars from a Union Pacific train travelling between Houston and Los Angeles came off the track near Picacho Peak.  Nobody was injured, but the Union Pacific train track was damaged outside of Eloy in Pinal County.  Spokeswoman Zoe Richmond said despite rain in the area crews were on schedule to open one track while the others are repaired through Wednesday.

Richmond said the train cars were apparently knocked over by a gust of wind.

“The good thing is, the rail lines can move either east or west, and so as long as we open up one of the rail lines we’ll be able to clear up some of the back log we have from trains cuing up both east and west of this incident," Richmond said.

Richmond said several cargo trains had to park nearby while the crews repaired the tracks. Amtrak passenger rail uses the same tracks but a spokeswoman said their trains are running on schedule in that area again.

“Often times you see something like this happen on the highway with a tractor trailer, but obviously a little more intense when it happens with a railroad,” Richmond said.

UPDATED Sept. 16, 2014 at 5:25 p.m.

KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.