Freight Train Hits Semi on Montana Hi-Line

January 19, 2012

A freight train with its whistle blowing derailed Tuesday in northeastern Montana after colliding with a semitrailer that had pulled across tracks at a private crossing between Bainville and Culbertson, a BNSF Railway spokesman said.

The train traveling from Chicago to Seattle was traveling about 69 mph and had activated its emergency brake, but it struck the semi slightly behind the cab shortly before 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, about 150 feet from U.S. 2, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said. The semi was heading from a farm area to the highway, Melonas said.

The semi driver was airlifted from the scene, and Melonas said he had no information on the driver’s injuries. Roosevelt County officials weren’t immediately available for comment.

There were no serious injuries among the train’s crew, Melonas said.

Ten of the train’s 40 cars derailed along with four locomotives, including two that were on their sides. Melonas says about 500 gallons of diesel fuel spilled, but the spill was contained and wasn’t threatening waterways.

The cars were carrying everything from plastics to frozen meats, diapers and washers, some of which spilled. The train also carried small amounts of classified hazardous material, including lighters, adhesives and alcohol, but there were no environmental threats, Melonas said.

At least 13 trains have been rerouted while the track is repaired. Crews were working through the night to repair the track, which could reopen as early as Wednesday.

About 40 trains typically use the track each day.

Topics Trucking

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