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Reward offered for sabotage in Vado train derailment that hurt 2, caused millions of dollars damage

train derailment
Scene of train derailment at Vado, New Mexico.

UPDATE, Dec. 4: BNSF Railway on Friday announced a $10,000 reward to find the person believed responsible for causing a southern New Mexico train derailment by "intentionally placing railroad ties on the tracks."

BNSF officials asked that anyone with information on Wednesday's act of sabotage contact the railroad's crime tip line at 1-800-832-5452.

The railroad said the two train workers injured in the Vado derailment, an engineer and conductor, have now been released from the hospital.

ORIGINAL REPORT, Dec. 2: VADO, New Mexico — A train derailment in Vado Wednesday morning resulted in millions of dollars in damage and will likely require weeks of cleanup, according to the New Mexico State Police.

The incident along NM 189 near milepost two, about 15 miles south of Las Cruces in Dona Ana County, occurred around 5:30 a.m.; state transportation officials said the roadway would remain closed to traffic until at least Thursday at noon.

Amy Casas, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, said 12 empty rail cars and two locomotives derailed on a BNSF freight train. She indicated the cause for the derailment was under investigation.

NMSP said two railroad employees on the train were injured and taken to local hospitals for evaluation. BNSF identified one of the pair as the train's engineer and said he suffered minor injuries.

State police said the derailment appeared to have been caused by two railroad ties left on the tracks. Police added that as the dozen rail cars were pushed off the tracks, thousands of gallons of diesel fuel leaked.

Below is a look at some aerial video that shows the derailment from the overhead perspective of a drone.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. Going out there this afternoon to take care of cotton very near this derailment. Hope the conductors are okay and that they recover soon. How the hell did these ties get on the track?

      1. Could be. If so I hope they catch whoever did it. That’s a real mess out there and had it been later in the morning many more people could have been killed or injured. Of course after daylight maybe someone could have seen the ties in time to avoid them.

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