Union Pacific freight train derails in Texas on flooded tracks

(Reuters) - A Union Pacific freight train carrying cement derailed in Texas on Saturday as flood waters covered the tracks about 55 miles (90 km) south of Dallas, putting locomotives and some of its rail cars on their side, according to a company spokesman and TV footage.

The two crew members operating the train swam to safety after the derailment, Jeff DeGraff, a Union Pacific Railroad spokesman, told CNN.

DeGraff told CBS the 64-car train was traveling south from Midlothian to Houston, adding that he did not know how many of the cars had derailed.

"This train was carrying cement, which is not hazardous material," DeGraff said in an interview with CNN. "We are keeping an eye out for diesel."

Video footage and photographs of the scene showed what appeared to be two locomotives and numerous cars on their sides, partially submerged in floodwaters.

The conductor put the train into emergency stop when he saw the water from a overflowing creek start to rise, the spokesman said.

"Once it came to a stop they were in the water," he said. "This was apparently a flash flood event."

Union Pacific could not be reached immediately for further comment.

Heavy rains swamped much of the state overnight, and rising floodwaters forced the evacuation of some residents in Navarro County where the derailment occurred.

The Navarro County Office of Emergency Management said in a Tweet that it had reports that up to 20 inches (50 cm) of rain fell in the area during the past 24 hours.

(Reporting By Frank McGurty; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Frances Kerry)

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