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Train service restored after derailment cleared

Mon., Jan. 14, 2008

HELENA – The Burlington Northern Santa Fe main rail line across eastern Montana and western North Dakota was restored to service Sunday after a 23-car derailment the day before.

Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman in Seattle, said crews worked throughout the night to clear wreckage and spilled cargo from the tracks and replace damaged rails.

The line reopened to rail traffic Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Mountain time, Melonas said.

Twenty-three cars from an eastbound BNSF freight train derailed at Trenton, N.D., a town of 1,000 just east of the Montana border, shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday, spilling lumber, frozen french fries, canned fruit and other merchandise, Melonas said.

No one was injured, and the cause is under investigation.

Amtrak bused passengers between Minot, N.D. and Havre, and BNSF rerouted some trains while the main line was blocked.

Melonas said 15 rail cars were destroyed in the derailment.

The train with four locomotives and 96 cars was hauling general merchandise.

It originated at Pasco and was destined for Galesburg, Ill.

It was traveling at 44 mph when it derailed, Melonas said.


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