Fire destroys train trestle in SW Bexar County

Incident near Macdona causes problems for freight train, Amtrak traffic

Macdona, Texas – A fire destroyed a train trestle in Southwest Bexar County on Friday night, causing problems for freight and passenger trains, officials said.

Firefighters said a train crossing the tracks reported the fire around 10 p.m. off Macdona Lacoste near Hackelburg Road. The fire was extinguished around 2 a.m., firefighters said.

Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said the location of the trestle, the materials in the wood and limited water resources posed challenges for fire crews.

"These wooden pieces get covered in different kinds of materials, (including) creosol, which we apply to it to keep it strong and from (getting) mildew," DeGraff said. "You also see other chemicals-diesel fuel things that just over the years soak into the wood to make it more difficult if they do happen to catch on fire."

The 100-foot trestle, which is owned by Union Pacific Railroad, supported railroad tracks that sit over a creek. The trestle is part of a railroad line that runs from San Antonio to Spofford near  Piedras Negras, Mexico, DeGraff said.

Train traffic in both directions was closed and had to be rerouted.

According to an Amtrak spokesman, the Sunset Limited, which travels from Los Angeles to New Orleans, arrived at the Amtrak station in Del Rio around 1 a.m., and was not able to continue due to the fire. The spokesman said Amtrak is sending charter buses to Del Rio to pick up passengers and take them to their destinations in San Antonio or other points east.

Crews were working to dismantle and repair one-third of the bridge.

"That will be a temporary fix for now that will reopen it for train traffic," Union Pacific spokesman Jeff DeGraff said. "We do have it slated to replace the entire bridge in the coming months, but for now, we are looking to get it repaired so we can resume train traffic."

A cause of the fire and a damage estimate wasn't immediately available.


About the Authors: