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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Coal train derails east of Terry

Twenty-nine cars go off the tracks

By Marla Prell
Yellowstone Newspapers

An eastbound BNSF Railway train derailed Monday evening about two miles east of Terry, with most of the 29 derailed cars spilling their loads of coal.

The accident scene included twisted railcars, piles of scattered coal and a line of flashing lights coming from BNSF railway vehicles as crews worked to clean up the debris Tuesday morning.

According to Matt Jones, BNSF director of public affairs for Montana and Wyoming, the derailment occurred at 9:10 p.m. on Monday. The cause and the extent of the damage are still under investigation.

There were no injuries reported.

“We have a contractor involved, and they’re in the process of re-railing cars, repairing the track and cleaning up the spilled freight,” Jones said Tuesday morning in a telephone interview.

The derailment has blocked the main BNSF line, and Jones said, “There will be limited delays on traffic traveling through this corridor.”

Rail freight will either be delayed or re-routed for the time being.

The train originated in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and was bound for Dayton’s Bluff, Minn.

The Prairie County Sheriff’s office was notified about the accident at about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

According to local and BNSF officials, no crossings were blocked by the derailment. Strewn cars and piles of spilled coal hadn’t reached the highway.

Jones had no service advisory yet to estimate how long travel would be affected or how long the cleanup would take.

“There is some length of track that will have to be repaired,” he said.

BNSF dispatched a work train from Glendive with ballast and rail to conduct the repairs, and other equipment including side booms and track hoes used to realign cars, Jones explained.

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