(Glasgow, Montana – November 19, 2011)
A massive derailment on Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s “Hi-Line” route through Montana near the community of Glasgow Saturday night created a “domino-effect” in both directions for both BNSF freight and Amtrak passenger traffic.
The 12-car derailment, unfortunately, included 11 articulated COFC (container on flat car) cars, each of which are as long as three to five standard freight cars and are extremely difficulty to re-rail.
Trains were being rerouted across BNSF’s main line through southern Montana or detoured via competing railroad lines such as Montana Rail Link. Meanwhile, BNSF had a small army of at least 40 employees struggling to clear the site and rebuild track in order to re-open the line before the weekend is over.
The freight containers carried no hazardous materials, but were filled with various and sundry freight of all kinds. BNSF estimated complete restoration of the line could take as long as a month and sources were attributing the cause to a broken rail.