On Tuesday July 14th, a train containing 106 oil cars derailed in eastern Montana. A total of 22 cars came off the tracks and at least two of those cars are known to have spilled their load. The derailment took place near Culbertson close to the North Dakota border. In May another oil train derailed and 10 tanker cars caught fire in an incident near Hamberg, North Dakota.
People living within a mile of the Culbertson derailment had to be evacuated and the area’s main travel artery, federal highway 2 has been closed. The derailment also disrupted Amtrak service between Whitefish, Montana and Minneapolis.
This is the second train derailment in recent days in Montana. The Culbertson derailment came only 6 hours after the track had been reopened due to another train derailment near Fort Kipp. In the Fort Kipp incident 9 cars derailed, including some carrying ethyl alcohol, however no spills were reported.
Due to an increase in oil shipments in the area, the firefighters who responded to the Culbertson spill had just completed their hazardous materials training just a month prior to the derailment. To aid in the assessment and cleanup a BNSF hazardous materials team is flying in from Texas.
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