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A Canadian Pacific Railroad train carrying eight empty cars derailed Sunday night near Hwy. 61 in southern Winona County.

No one was injured in the accident that halted railroad traffic while CP worked to right the cars and repair the tracks, said Winona County Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Klinger.

Public records show the dozens of oil trains that were rolling through La Crosse each week a few years ago have all but disappeared, and most of the crude still on the rails is moving in newer tank cars. But tens of thousands of older, more dangerous cars are still being used to haul ethanol and other flammable liquids.

Klinger said the cars are used to haul frac sand.

According to the county Sheriff's Department, the accident was reported by a tugboat operator shortly before 10:45 p.m. Sunday. 

He said when deputies arrived, they discovered the conductor, engineer and crew had already left the scene.

Dakota, Nodine and La Crescent fire departments joined deputies at the accident scene.

"There were no injuries, no hazardous material involved and no public safety issues." Andy Cummings, a spokesperson for CP, wrote in a statement. "CP immediately dispatched teams to the site to begin removing derailed cars and reinstating the rail line to operation. Safety will be their focus as work continues at the site."

CP Police will investigate the cause of the derailment.

From 2016: Photos of a Canadian Pacific derailment near Brownsville, Minn.

Tobias Mann covers crime and government in Winona County. He can be reached at 507-453-3522 or at


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