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Federal inspector to examine Alaska tour train derailment site

By Steve Quinn

JUNEAU Alaska (Reuters) - A federal inspector has been sent to examine the Alaska site where a tourism train derailed this week, leaving 19 people with minor injuries, a U.S. Transportation Department spokesman said on Thursday.

Department spokesman Kevin Thompson said the agency had yet to determine whether a full-fledged federal investigation into the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway’s Wednesday afternoon accident was warranted.

The railway plans to resume suspended operations on Friday morning, it said in a statement.

The company said 19 of the train's 360 passengers suffered bumps and bruises in the mishap, and each was released from medical care within hours of treatment.

"Any injury connected to our rail operations, whether to our passengers or employees, is always considered serious," company president John Finlayson said in a statement.

The derailment involved two vintage locomotives and four passenger rail cars, the company said on its website.

The accident happened during a round trip between Skagway, Alaska, and Canada, a route taken annually by thousands of tourists along the region’s historic Klondike Gold Rush.

The company said the derailment took place about 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Skagway, a coastal community along the U.S.-Canadian border and about 100 miles (161 km) north of Juneau, Alaska’s state capital.

The company has launched its own probe to determine what caused the accident, Finlayson said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman)

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