Montana Outdoors

October 25, 2008

Derailed (4)

Filed under: Montana, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Train derailment — Tags: — montucky @ 1:28 pm

This is the final set of photos of the derailment. It shows some of the railroad repair and the equipment used for it. The trains resumed their schedules last evening: total down time about 60 hours. There is still some restoration and removal work to be done, but the tracks are clear and usable.

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment

Train derailment


  1. I am amazed by what an enormous task it is and also by how fast they are making progress with it.


    Comment by Tabbie — October 25, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  2. When I lived in Whitefish, there was a BN derailment along the Southern boundary of Glacier NP, spilling grain. For years afterward there was a problem with grizzlies getting hit in that area. Hope they clean up the soy and don’t have the same problem with wildlife kills.


    Comment by bill in texas — October 25, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

  3. Tabbie,

    When there are millions of dollars a day at stake, I guess it pays them to keep a seasoned and skilled crew who are willing to work around the clock. I was surprised to see the trains roll again so soon.


    Comment by montucky — October 25, 2008 @ 9:47 pm

  4. Bill,

    We don’t have as many bears here (no Griz in this part of the valley) and they have stayed in the high country this summer because there has been a great berry crop and abundant plant life up there this year. I think they’ll have most of the soybeans cleaned up so there won’t be much to forage. It will be interesting to watch though!


    Comment by montucky — October 25, 2008 @ 9:50 pm

  5. Looks like I stepped in right at the end! I just home nobody got hurt!


    Comment by scienceguy288 — October 26, 2008 @ 8:59 am

  6. Very cool photo essay. This is something that most people will probably never see in real life.


    Comment by wolf — October 26, 2008 @ 10:05 am

  7. Nope, scienceguy. No injuries and no hazardous material. Very lucky!


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 10:06 am

  8. That’s kind of what I thought, Wolf. It’s rare to be able to get close to something like that while the work is going on.


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 10:08 am

  9. I like the photo of the “Tracks to Atlantis”.

    I’ve been away for several days, I’m glad to see that you are continuing the same excellent work to which I’ve grown accustomed.

    I’ll try and come by more often in the future.


    Comment by Pinhole — October 26, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  10. Great series of photos! Quite an undertaking to get the tracks cleared & repaired in that time.


    Comment by Adam R. Paul — October 26, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  11. I think I like that photo best of all, Pinhole! It says a lot, doesn’t it!


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  12. Adam,

    To those of us not used to that sort of thing, it seems impossible to clear that all up, but those guys are serious! I wish I could afford just one of those big modified dozers! They’re awesome!


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  13. Wow! What a big mess. I’m coming in to the story late here–was anyone hurt? Do they know what caused the derailment? What’s being done with all the soybeans?


    Comment by Anonymous — October 26, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  14. Sorry, that previous anonymous was me. — Sara


    Comment by Sara — October 26, 2008 @ 1:09 pm

  15. what an interesting series! and great photos each time. I had so many thoughts looking through:

    -did the fog have anything to do w/ the derailment?

    -when the train derailed, did it tear up the track like that?

    -glad the only thing being carried was soybeans, and that no one was hurt

    -you sure have pretty colored water up there!

    -once we were eating at sonic. my daughter’s friend noticed that there were some tomato plants growing up next to the curb. (she knows because they have a garden) I asked the car hop if they actually were tomato plants and she said yes. we guessed that someone did not like tomatoes and threw them off their burger, the seeds sprouted and the plants grew…wonder if you’ll see that happen here w/ soybean plants!

    -I can’t believe they got it fixed so fast! how? do they pull up the old torn track and lay new track?

    – the track sure runs close to the edge of the lake

    -those work crews really are amazing!


    Comment by silken — October 26, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

  16. Sara,

    Nope, no injuries at all!

    There hasn’t been anything said about the cause of the derailment, but I’ll bet it was a failure in the wheel system on one of the cars because the problem happened in the middle of the train.

    They vacuumed all of the beans out of the derailed cars before they moved them, loaded them into truck trailers and from there to empty cars. There are still a lot in the water, and now they will use a “wet-vac” system to suck them up too.


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 7:27 pm

  17. Silken,

    No, the fog had nothing to do with it: the derailed cars were in the middle of the train.

    Yes, it tore up the track, perhaps a hundred yards of it. They removed all of the damaged track and laid new after the cars were moved out. They laid the track in (about) 100 foot lengths that already had cross-ties on them when they brought them to the site.

    Patia and Tabbie suggested that if the beans were genetically altered they might not grow. I have no idea if they were, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    The crews really were amazing to watch. I’m sure they have done similar things many times and they’re extremely efficient. I admired the skill of the dozer operators especially!


    Comment by montucky — October 26, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  18. I was glad to finally meet you at Steves last week. Really enjoyed the pictures of the wreck, and have enjoyed the rest of your pctures, as I have hunted in much of the local area you have photoed. Enjoyed talking to you and maybe will have more time next time.


    Comment by Rich — October 26, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  19. It was good to meet you too, Rich! It’s such a beautiful area we live in and I’m pleased to know that you enjoy seeing my photos of it! I’m sure we’ll get together from time to time and I will look forward to it.


    Comment by montucky — October 27, 2008 @ 9:29 am

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