Crews yesterday removed the bodies of five trainmen from the smoldering wreckage of locomotives, railroad cars and a highway bridge left when two freight trains collided head-on at a combined speed of 90 mph.
Others worked to reroute a major highway around the site.
Friday night's crash derailed 36 cars and all five locomotives on the two trains. The impact and fire that followed also buckled an overpass carrying U.S. 36, a four-lane highway between Denver and Boulder.
"It's still burning," Bob Deutsch of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department said yesterday.
The track section, not considered a heavy-traffic route by the railroad, is "dark territory," meaning it is not equipped with centralized traffic-control lights, Burlington Northern spokesman Bill Joplin said.
The dispatching office for the area is at McCook, Neb., where workers "tell a train what to do and where to do it," he said.
Joplin would not speculate whether human or mechanical error was more likely to have caused the crash.
The last of the incinerated bodies was pulled from the wreckage 18 hours after the crash, but authorities did not immediately release the identities of the victims.
Two conductors, riding in the cabooses, survived, Joplin said.