Written by John Plestina
A passenger took this photo shortly after the derailment that shows one of the two passenger cars off the track and damaged track. (Photo by Susan Cook, Amtrak Passenger)
One person was hospitalized when two passenger cars on Amtrak’s Minneapolis to Portland and Seattle Empire Builder route derailed near Bainville Monday, April 28.
The westbound cars went off the track at a switch about 2 p.m. Both cars remained upright.
Amtrak reported that 117 passengers were onboard the 13-car train.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the train was delayed three and a half hours. It was held temporarily at Culbertson.
An eastbound Amtrak train was delayed 15 hours while a crew from Burlington Northern/Santa Fe repaired damaged track.
“One passenger was looked at the scene by EMS and then looked at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson,” Magliari said.
The unidentified passenger was released from the hospital.
“The tracks were closed because of track damage and disabled cars and reopened this morning,” Magliari said Tuesday, April 29.
Matt Jones, BNSF director of public affairs, said the track was returned to service at 5 a.m.
He said he did not immediately have an estimate of the cost of the damage.
“There could be delays of 36 hours on shipments on this corridor,” Jones said.
Roosevelt County emergency management, sheriff’s deputies and emergency medical personnel responded to the scene.
“We appreciate the reactions of the local emergency responders,” Magliari said.
The Montana Department of Transportation closed Montana Hwy. 327 near the derailment and set up a detour for motor vehicle traffic.
The cause of the derailment remains under investigation by Amtrak and the BNSF.