A train carrying hazardous materials derailed Saturday morning in Montana, causing a bridge to collapse and sending multiple rail cars into the Yellowstone River.
The incident occurred around 6 a.m. local time near Columbus, Montana, in Stillwater County, local officials said.
Eight tanker cars were damaged and were leaking petroleum products near the Yellowstone River, according to the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office.
The rail cars, which are owned by Montana Rail Link (MRL), were hauling asphalt and molten sulfur, according to a report from the Stillwater County News. “Both of the substances are described as ‘slow moving’ and have not gone much past the initial scene,” said Columbus Fire Chief Rich Cowger and County DES Chief David Stamey.
“Resources are being dispatched and multiple agencies are assisting,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “There is no immediate threat to Yellowstone County. Precautions are being put in place. Local fishing accesses will be closed. Water treatment plants, irrigation districts and industrial companies are taking appropriate precautions. We will update with information as it is received.”
Multiple local, state and federal agencies are responding to the scene.
No injuries were reported. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.
MRL is a Class II regional railroad that operates over 900 route miles of track in Montana and Idaho, according to its website.
Since 1987, the company has held an agreement with BSNF Railway in which MRL leased and operated mainline tracks from BNSF between Huntley, Montana, and Sandpoint, Idaho.
In March, the Surface Transportation Board approved a petition by MRL to end the agreement and allow BSNF to take over MRL’s operations. The transition is expected to be complete by the end of the year. A report from Trains.com estimated the buyout at around $2 billion.
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