Posted: Oct 8, 2012 4:43 PM by Tara Grimes- MTN News
Updated: Oct 8, 2012 4:48 PM
GREAT FALLS - River Drive South has reopened in Great Falls and trains are back on track after a train derailment on Sunday afternoon.
At about 3:30 p.m., less than 1,000 feet away from the Great Falls police station, 12 rail cars tipped.
"We had a train that originated at Denver. It was hauling general merchandise and it was pulling into Great Falls and it was performing routine switching before it would take off and go towards its final destination of Spokane," Gus Melonas, spokesman for Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe (BNSF), explained.
The train engine was pushing the 86-rail car line on the tracks behind the police department and across the bridge over the Missouri River when the dozen empty trail cars tipped.
Melonas says the cause of the accident is still being investigated.
"It's just a matter of continuing to investigate what happened. There was no structural damage to the bridge, and just minor track damage."
More than 30 crew members spent the night cleaning up the mess, using equipment to pull the cars back up on the tracks.
"We brought in dozers, cats, front end loaders, they set the 12 cars back on the track and they've been removed from the area now and they're being mechanically assessed in the yard at Great Falls," Melonas said.
On Monday morning, workers made track repairs before opening the line back up at noon.
"There is some grooming work and some landscape on the side of the track that we're also going to perform today but all and all the line is open and we're moving 10-15 trains daily that pass through this line," Melonas said.
Three parked vehicles were damaged after being hit by one of the rail cars, but fortunately the derailment caused no injuries.