Monday, August 14, 2017

Coal train derails near Noxon, Montana, spilling coal along the banks of the Clark Fork River

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 4:57 PM

No one was injured when about 30 cars of a 116-car coal train derailed around 11 pm on Sunday, Aug. 13, on Montana Rail Link's main lines near the Clark Fork River, according to the rail company.

The train derailed near Noxon, Montana, near the Idaho border, about 50 miles southeast of Sandpoint.

Pictures appear to show at least one rail car partly in the river, and piles of coal spilling down the sides of the riverbank below mangled cars:

Jim Lewis, a spokesman for Montana Rail Link, says that as of 4 pm Monday, the company is estimating that its main line will be open again on Wednesday.

The train originated in the Powder River Basin and was headed to a final destination in the Pacific Northwest, Lewis writes in an email.

The cause of the derailment is still being investigated, as is the extent of the spill, since cleanup just started, Lewis says. Montana Rail Link crews are working with third-party contractors to clean up the site.

"Where, and how much, coal was released is still being determined," Lewis writes.

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Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...