Union Pacific Railroad pays Tempe over $480K for a 2020 train derailment

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Sunday, February 13, 2022 - 9:00am

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Tempe trail derailment
Smoke can be seen from the train derailment at Tempe Town Lake on July 29, 2020.

A 2020 cargo train derailment on the bridge crossing Tempe Town Lake caused a portion of it to be demolished.

The railroad company operating the line will now reimburse Tempe for damages, according to a media release.

Union Pacific Railroad will pay $481,715 to Tempe in an agreement approved by the city council late this week.

The accident caused first responders from four area cities to put out a fire started by the wreck and to remove hazardous chemicals from the area.

While none of those chemicals leaked into the lake, some did seep into a nearby storm drain that leads into the Salt River channel. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality conducted 70 tests and determined in August no additional cleanup was needed.

UPRR spent approximately $11 million to repair and replace portions of the historic railroad bridge over Tempe Town Lake. The railroad also repaired portions of Rio Salado Parkway and damage to Tempe Beach Park, including trees, streetlights, hardscape and more.

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