Rail Cars Derail, Leak Crude in MT

Friday, July 17, 2015 @ 12:07 PM gHale

An oil train derailed in rural northeastern Montana and at least two cars were leaking crude oil forcing the evacuation of area homes, authorities said.

There were no immediate reports of injury or fire, but of the 21 cars that derailed only two remained upright, Roosevelt County Sheriff Jason Frederick said.

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Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesman Michael Trevino said the train was pulling 106 loaded crude oil cars when it derailed near Culbertson near the North Dakota border just after 6 p.m. Thursday.

Police, fire and other emergency personnel were on the scene, which forced them to shut down U.S. Highway 2, the region’s main artery.

Crews were not getting too close to the leaking cars until a BNSF hazardous materials team arrives from Texas, Frederick said. There was no immediate threat to public safety, he said.

The sheriff didn’t know how many homes evacuated but said the area is rural with ranch homes spread apart.

One report said the derailment came about six hours after rail traffic started moving again after another BNSF derailment further west near Fort Kipp on Tuesday.

Rail officials declined to specify if the train was hauling crude from North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch, where growing numbers of shipments have raised safety concerns.

Trains hauling crude from the Bakken region have been involved in multiple derailments in recent years, some causing fires.

U.S. transportation officials recently extended an order for railroads to notify states about shipments of hazardous crude oil shipments.