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Light rail train derails in St. Paul on testing run

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A Central Corridor light rail train rolled off the track at 12th and Cedar Streets, near the Minnesota State Capitol building, Wednesday afternoon, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The derailment apparently occurred as the train, which was on a test run and not carrying passengers, tried to navigate a turn. Transit officials say the incident was due in part to snow piling up on the route.

Metro Transit released this statement to explain what happened, according to the Star Tribune:

At approximately 4 p.m., wheels on the lead car of an out-of-service, three-car light-rail train came off the tracks while traveling northbound on the Green Line through the intersection of 12th and Cedar streets in St. Paul. This train had been located at the Union Depot and was returning en route to Minneapolis.

Wheels on the lead car came off the tracks because of snow that had accumulated in the rail right of way. Trains had not traveled on this section of the track since the snowstorm last week. Rail operations responded to the scene to clear the snow and put the wheels back on the tracks. Metro Transit Police and St. Paul police directed traffic through the partially-blocked intersection. Two train cars that were attached to the lead car were moved to Tenth Street Station to clear the scene. The train cars were returned and reattached to pull the train car back onto the tracks. The effort to put the train car back on the tracks continues.

When it is back on the tracks, the train car will be brought to Minneapolis for inspection. Other than the operator, no one was on the train when the wheels came off the track.

The incident occurred less than two hours after President Barack Obama's speech on road, bridge and public transit investment at the Union Depot transit hub in downtown St. Paul. The Green Line will run between the Depot and downtown Minneapolis when it begins service in June, the paper reports.

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