Tag Archives: Blair MT

Montana county has had 5 derailments in two years

Repost from The Dickinson Press

Montana county has had 5 derailments in two years

By Amy Dalrymple on Jul 20, 2015 at 11:22 p.m.
An investigator takes photos at the site of a crude oil train derailment on Saturday, July 18 east of Culbertson, Mont. Twenty-two oil tankers derailed, leaking an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil. (FNS Photo by Amy Dalrymple)

CULBERTSON, Mont. — Five train derailments have occurred in less than two years in the northeastern Montana County where crews continue cleaning up after last week’s oil train derailment.

In addition to the two train derailments that occurred last week within a 20-mile stretch of Roosevelt County, two railcars also derailed at Culbertson in February, according to the Federal Railroad Administration database, which is updated through April.

The cause of that incident, which did not cause injuries or release of hazardous material, was attributed to human error, according to information submitted to the FRA.

The area also had two train derailments in 2014, including the derailment of two Amtrak cars in April of that year in the neighboring community of Bainville.

Two people were hurt in the derailment, which caused more than $100,000 in damage to Amtrak equipment and nearly $500,000 in damage to the track, the FRA database shows.

The cause that derailment is listed as “track roadbed settled or soft,” according to information submitted to the FRA.

The other 2014 incident, which involved one railcar that derailed in December at Culbertson, was attributed to a broken wheel, the FRA database shows.

The entire state of Montana had 19 train derailments in 2014, the FRA information shows.

Last Tuesday, nine railcars derailed near Blair, Mont., damaging about 1 mile of track. The cause remains under investigation.

BNSF Railway inspects the track in that area at least four times per week, spokesman Matt Jones said.

The FRA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration continued collecting evidence Monday to investigate the cause of Thursday’s derailment involving 22 oil tankers. Four of the derailed tank cars leaked oil, the FRA said, and spilled an estimated 35,000 gallons of oil.

The train was not speeding at the time it derailed, an FRA spokesman said. It was traveling 44 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone, the spokesman said.

BNSF environmental specialists continue to clean up at the site. Oil will be removed from the remaining tank cars in the next several days, and the cars will be removed after that, Jones said.

Crews are excavating contaminated soil, said Daniel Kenney, enforcement specialist with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, which is monitoring the cleanup. The spill was not reported to have contaminated any water sources and has not threatened human health, Kenney said.

The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources confirmed Monday that Statoil, the company that owns the oil that was on the train, is in compliance with the state’s oil conditioning order.

The order, which took effect in April, aims to reduce the volatility of Bakken crude oil.

Statoil was meeting the order by operating its equipment at specific temperatures and pressures, said Department of Mineral Resources spokeswoman Alison Ritter. Companies also can comply by submitting vapor pressure tests to the state.

The train with was loaded by Savage Services in Trenton, N.D., and headed to Anacortes, Wash., the FRA said.

Jeff Hymas, a spokesman for Savage Services, said Monday the railcar inspection protocols at the Trenton terminal are consistent with FRA and BNSF requirements.

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    LATEST DERAILMENT: Tank cars leaking Bakken oil after second derailment in two days

    Repost from The Grand Forks Herald
    [Editor:  Updated report by the Associated Press / ABC: “35,000 Gallons of Oil Spills After Montana Train Derailment.”  For additional coverage on these and other derailments, see The DOT-111 Reader.  – RS]

    UPDATE: Oil tank cars leaking oil after another derailment near North Dakota-Montana border

    By Forum News Service on Jul 16, 2015 at 10:10 p.m.

    CULBERTSON, Mont. – A train carrying oil derailed in northeast Montana Thursday, hours after the tracks reopened from another train derailment that occurred on Tuesday in the same county.

    The westbound train derailed about 6:05 p.m. Mountain Time east of Culbertson, Mont, said BNSF Railway spokesman Matt Jones.

    The westbound train contained 106 loaded crude oil tank cars and two buffer cars loaded with sand. Twenty-two cars derailed and two of those remained upright, Jones said.

    The other rail cars were still on the track in the desolate area near the North Dakota and Montana border.

    Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick, who said he was expecting another long night, said about that two of the cars were verified as leaking oil, but there were no fires as of about 11 p.m. Central Time.

    No injuries have been reported. Local firefighters  and law enforcement officers are at the scene as a precaution, Jones said.

    Also as a precaution all of the rural ranch homes within a mile radius of the derailment were evacuated, said Frederick.

    Also traffic has been rerouted off of U.S. Highway 2, which is only about  50 yards from the derailed oil tankers, said the sheriff.

    Frederick said a hazmat crew from BNSF was on a jet and on its way from Fort Worth, Texas,  to the scene of the derailment.  They had not arrived yet at 11 p.m.

    “It’s absolutely going to be a long night,” the sheriff said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

    Nine rail cars derailed Tuesday afternoon near Blair, Mont., about 20 miles to the west of the Thursday derailment, said the sheriff.

    Both derailments were within about 50 miles of Williston, N.D.

    The tracks had reopened about 12:15 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday after crews repaired 1 mile of damaged track from Tuesday’s accident.

    Tuesday’s derailment disrupted Amtrak service between Whitefish, Mont., and Minneapolis, and the sheriff said he expects more delays are likely.

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