Into the drink: train derails beside Montana river, tipping out cases of beer | Montana

A train derailment beside a scenic western Montana river has spilled powdered clay and huge amounts of beer, leaving crews with a daunting cleanup.

The train derailed on Sunday across the river from Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in Paradise, spilling cases of Coors Light and Blue Moon beer in cans and bottles, the Missoulian reported. No injuries have been reported.

Cleanup crews could face a difficult task after a 25-car derailment left some cars off the tracks in a narrow, century-old tunnel with limited access, officials said.

“It’s a terrible spot to get in and out of,” said Bill Naegeli, manager for Sanders county disaster and emergency services, of the derailment on the Clark Fork River.

Seven cars are believed derailed in the narrow tunnel where it will be hard to extricate them, Naegeli said. A tanker car carrying butane was on its side, but it did not leak, Naegeli said.

A boom was deployed across the river to secure any cans or bottles of beer that enter the water and to monitor for any possible diesel impacts after a small amount of fuel spilled on the dirt from two refrigerator cars that derailed, said Andy Garland, spokesperson for Montana Rail Link, on Monday.

“MRL has been in communication with both local and federal authorities and will conduct any necessary site remediation, including impacted soil removal in coordination with DEQ,” Garland said.

A 25-car train derailment left a difficult mess across on the Clark Fork River in western Montana.Pin
A 25-car train derailment left a difficult mess across on the Clark Fork River in western Montana. Photograph: Ben Allan Smith/AP

Directly across the river, some guest cabins at Quinn’s resort were evacuated as a precaution, the Plains-Paradise rural fire district said in a social media post.

Denise Moreth, the resort’s general manager, told the Missoulian that front desk workers heard a “loud, rumbling crash, and then they heard the train derailment”.

Garland said Sunday it was unclear how long it would take to remove the derailed cars and repair the tracks and railroad bed, which appeared to have been damaged when the cars slid off the tracks. Crews were working in the area on Monday.

The cause of the derailment is still under investigation, officials said.

Federal regulators and members of Congress are urging railroads to do more to prevent derailments after recent fiery wrecks involving hazardous chemicals in Ohio and Minnesota prompted evacuations.

Rail accidents including derailments have been trending downward in the US as the number of miles traveled by trains decreases. However, the rate of accidents per mile has been increasing, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. Railway unions contend rail transportation has become riskier in recent years after widespread job cuts.

The Associated Press contributed reporting

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