June 13, 2011 in City, Idaho

Rock slide blocks BNSF line near Bonners Ferry

Associated Press

A rockslide near Bonners Ferry has blocked railroad tracks used by Amtrak and 30 freight trains a day.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Gus Melonas says sensors detected the avalanche and safely stopped a train Sunday afternoon before it reached the slide in a canyon 15 miles east of Bonners Ferry.

Melonas says crews worked through the night and hope to have the track reopened later Monday. Some trains are holding while others are being rerouted. The track is a key rail link between the Northwest and Midwest.

Melonas says the slide, about 30 feet deep and 30 feet wide, along the Kootnai River was caused by heavy rains, melting snow and changing spring temperatures.

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