About 24 hours after a coal train derailed in Mesa, the tracks were fixed and train traffic returned to normal.
But, it likely will take three weeks for the 30 damaged cars and spilled coal to be cleaned up, said Gus Melonas, spokesman for BNSF Railway Co.
Thirty-one cars on the 125-car train derailed around 6:30 p.m. Monday in the small north Franklin County town. No one was hurt.
About 50 workers were on scene early Tuesday and were able to get one car, which was upright, back on the rail, Melonas said.
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Twenty cars that were in a pile and 10 that were on their sides were shoved out of the way so track crews could quickly replace the damaged tracks.
About 30 trains a day use the mainline.
Four coal trains roll through the area each day, and the route also is used by the Portland-Chicago Amtrak, The Associated Press reported.
One train was able to go through the area on a side track and other routes around the Northwest were used to detour the other trains until the track reopened, Melonas said.
Once the track was fixed, crews began focusing on cleanup, which will including cutting up the cars and removing the metal and coal over the next three weeks, he said.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.
Melonas said there was no environmental threat from the crash, but opponents of increased coal shipments in the Northwest say it's an example of a serious risk, the AP said.
A state Department of Ecology spokeswoman said the agency was not called about the derailment because coal is not considered a hazardous material and it's not oil.
The agency did, however, monitor the air quality in Mesa because of the cloud of coal dust, said spokeswoman Jani Gilbert.
"We did see a slight bump in the particulate matter in the air for a couple hours after the derailment," Gilbert told the Herald. "But that could have happened had a diesel truck been idling in the area. ... With levels that we're talking about, there's nothing to be alarmed about."
The train, which originated in Wyoming, was headed for British Columbia.
With a growing demand for coal in Asia, there are a half-dozen proposals for new coal export terminals in Washington and Oregon.
They are at Cherry Point, Longview and Port of Grays Harbor in Washington state, as well as Coos Bay in Oregon and two sites on the Columbia River, according to the AP.
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Ecology have all asked the Army Corps of Engineers to thoroughly review the impacts of exporting large amounts of coal from Wyoming and Montana to Asia.
Environmental groups oppose the shipments. They cite congestion and dust pollution problems with the trains and say regulators also should consider the effect on climate change from burning North America coal in Asia.
"As more trains come through, the risks of accidents go up," said Shannon Wright, executive director with Communitywise Bellingham, a group that wants studies of the local community impacts of a proposed coal-export terminal at Cherry Point.
"A close look at the increased risk of train wrecks needs to be studied," as the environmental review process gets under way, she said Tuesday.
Derailments are a serious risk, said Krista Collard, with the Sierra Club's Northwest Beyond Coal Campaign in San Francisco, the AP reported.
"This is a perfect example of why," she said. "We've been calling for the Corps to do a full evaluation of all six proposals from mine to rail and port to plant in Asia."