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AT LEAST 83 HURT AS AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA
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AT LEAST 83 HURT AS AMTRAK TRAIN DERAILS IN IOWA

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A 19-car Amtrak passenger train derailed Monday, injuring at least 83 of the 400 people aboard, authorities said.

Seven cars of the eastbound California Zephyr derailed about 1:25 p.m. on Burlington Northern tracks, authorities said. Eyewitnesses counted as many as nine cars off the track.``It made a hell of a noise and then all kind of dust started flying,' said Robert Franklin of Batavia.

``It was just one big, loud bang. Kind of like a clankety, clang,' said his wife, Patricia.

The train was carrying 394 passengers and about 20 crew members, said Debbie Hare, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Chicago.

Area hospitals reported receiving at least 83 people from the accident, 10 of whom were hurt seriously enough to be admitted. There were no known deaths.

The cars began to run off the track just before it reached a crossing on the southern edge of this town of 525 residents, 90 miles southeast of Des Moines.

The train had 12 passenger cars, four baggage cars and three locomotives, said Sue Martin, an Amtrak spokeswoman in Washington.

Marci Larson, another Amtrak spokeswoman in Washington, said the last seven cars derailed: three remained upright, three were left leaning and one, a sleeper car, was turned on its side.

Amtrak officials said they did not know how fast the train was traveling when the cars left the tracks and that the train's ``black box' would have to be examined. The train is authorized to travel as fast as 79 mph in the area, they said.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Burlington Northern were dispatched to the scene.

Sections of the California Zephyr originate in Seattle, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., and are linked in Salt Lake City for the trip to Chicago.

Martin said the train had been running two hours late because the Oakland section had to detour between Oakland and Sacramento because of a gasoline spill.

Amtrak was busing passengers to Chicago to continue their trip.

Also Monday, crews in western Pennsylvania skimmed crude oil from the surface of a creek that was fouled when a freight train derailed and caught fire. Twenty-nine cars in a 97-car Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad train derailed in Craigsville, Pa., on Sunday night. No serious injuries were reported in the ensuing explosion and fire.

About 100,000 gallons of oil leaked from four cars and up to 10,000 gallons of sodium hydroxide, a caustic chemical used to clean drains, leaked from one car, said John Bell, the railroad's vice president and general manager.

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