commander kept fire engines and foam units on alert status with lines charged whenever a piece of wreckage was moved from a critical location over the pipeline. Calnev’s maintenance superintendent testified that it was his understanding that removal of the wreckage would proceed during daylight hours only. When SP continued their activities after dark, Calnev’s maintenance superintendent notified his supervisor who then returned to the site. After the situation was discussed with the incident commander and SP personnel, it was agreed that operations would be discontinued. Activities were halted about 11:00 p.m. that evening. The incident commander stated that he believed the cooperation exhibited by both Calnev and SP was exceptional.
May 14, 1989.—Removal of the rail cars resumed about 6:00 a.m. and continued throughout the day. Again, a Calnev representative was on site to monitor the operations and keep SP’s personnel aware of the location of the pipeline. According to SP’s division mechanical officer, the cars were removed "…in the manner in which the had been stacked…using two hooks with one crane. We picked them all straight up and then moved them out." He further testified that none of the cars were dropped in this process. He observed that debris including car components, axles, and pieces of rail remained in the area after the cars were removed; the visible debris was then also removed from the site. According to Calnev’s maintenance superintendent, it appeared that the debris had not penetrated the natural ground cover. SP’s division mechanical officer testified that no contact with the pipeline was observed during removal of the debris and "there was no rail sticking in the ground." Equipment operators working during the clearing of the train cars stated that many pieces of heavy construction and excavation equipment, including front-end loaders, cranes, and bulldozers worked simultaneously throughout the derailment area.
May 15 and 16, 1989.—When activity resumed on the morning of May 15, SP began making preparations to move the locomotives; all rail cars had been removed from the east side of the track. Calnev’s maintenance superintendent noted that the trona was scattered in varying depths throughout the area and over the pipeline to a point near, but not reaching, the engine (unit SP 7549) that lay inverted over the pipeline near the toe of the railroad embankment. To remove the locomotive units from the east side to the west side, SP personnel used two cranes to lift each unit and place it in the breach where one of the cranes, with the help of a front-end loader, carried the unit to the open field on the west side of the tracks. Each time a locomotive unit was moved, it was necessary for one of the cranes to cross through the haul road over the pipeline. Calnev personnel agreed that the crane could cross over the pipeline in this location. Calnev’s maintenance superintendent testified, "I did not see any activity which I believed damaged the pipeline. Any time you are using large pieces of excavating type equipment near a pipeline, you certainly have the potential for danger." According to SP’s division mechanical officer, who was in charge of the wreckage removal, he did not perform or know of any calculations that were performed to determine the stress imposed on the pipeline due to the weight of the cranes and the cars that were carried across it.