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Workers clean up millions of tiny plastic beads

By Staff
CLEAN UP n Kansas City Southern Railroad workers mend cars that derailed near the 22nd Avenue Overpass Thursday night. The material shown spilled from the cars are white plastic beads. Photo by Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star.
By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Dec. 9, 2000
In a scene weirdly evocative of Christmas, millions of tiny white plastic beads spilled Thursday night from four Kansas City Southern cars that derailed near the 22 Avenue Overpass creating white drifts that took most of the night to clean up.
The incident occurred about 8 p.m. as Meridian's Christmas parade wound its way through the downtown.
The Meridian Fire Department responded to the call, but Chief Bunky Partridge said firefighters were on the scene for fewer than 10 minutes.
Spence said the train was coming into Meridian on its way to Artesia when the derailment occurred.
The four cars plunged into the dirt next to the tracks, causing one of the cars to spill its cargo of millions of tiny plastic beads. Raw plastics are shipped as tiny beads; manufacturers produce different shapes by putting the beads into molds and applying pressure and heat.
Crews worked throughout the night to clean up the beads and set upright two of the four cars. Spence said bulldozers and other large pieces of equipment were brought in to help clean the area and turn the cars back over.
Spence said the cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at