DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. - The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad continued to work Friday on repairing a damaged section of track where a derailment occurred Thursday in the Douglas County town of Sedalia.
BNSF officials were unavailable to explain what may have caused 17 empty rail cars to jackknife off the tracks at the Highway 67 crossing just west of the Highway 85 intersection.
The rail cars were empty and no one was hurt.
The derailment forced the closing of the Highway 67 crossing, but it could reopen as soon as Friday night, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said.
Paul Arbini, owner of a motorcycle shop at the crossing, said he saw the derailment as it happened.
"I heard an unusual rumbling," he said. "When I looked up, rail just split everywhere. Luckily the engineer was going slow enough to see what was happening and slow the train down."
At least one business owner said he had lost sales since the derailment because drivers don't want to take the five-mile detour around the derailment site.
The Jarre Mart convenience store on the west side of the crossing received exterior damage when it was struck by wheels and an axle from a rail car.
The possibility of a derailment is what people who live along railroad tracks live with. But Donald Addington, who lives across the street from the Sedalia tracks, said he's not worried about the possibility.
"Yeah, sometimes it bothers you, but you can't just go thinking about what could happen if hazardous stuff spills," he said. "You've just got to live your life and if something like that happens, you deal with it then."
Ashley Ellis, another resident, said the derailment gave her a healthy respect for railroads.
"It's definitely something to think about," she said. "I work next to the train tracks, too. So it could have happened with full cars, and that could have been even scarier."
People came from as far away as Denver to watch the derailment cleanup Friday.