NewsMontana and Regional News


Railway reopens following deadly derailment along the Hi-Line

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Amtrak train derailment along Hi-Line
Posted at 8:58 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 11:58:06-04

Burlington-Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) has reopened the northern Montana line where an Amtrak passenger train derailed over the weekend.

Three people died and dozens more were injured when seven of the ten cars derailed on Saturday afternoon.

BNSF confirmed the rail line between Joplin and Chester opened for normal operations just after 4 a.m. on Tuesday.

The Amtrak website says:

  • Trains 7/27, which normally operate between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, will operate over the full route, effective with the Chicago departure on September 28.
  • Trains 8/28, which normally operate between Seattle/Portland and Chicago, will operate over the full route, effective with the Seattle and Portland departures on September 29.

On Monday, National Transportation Safety Board investigators combed the scene in search of clues to the cause of the crash. The train had been moving below the 79-mile per hour limit at the time of the derailment. The tracks went through a regular inspection just two days earlier.

"We are not ruling anything out at this point. We have ruled everything in," said NTSB vice chairman Bruce Landsberg. Landsberg said that NTSB will be at the site for about a week and will have a preliminary report available within 30 days.

The NTSB team consists of 14 investigators with expertise in:

  • Rail operations
  • Mechanical
  • Human performance
  • Track
  • Signal systems
  • Recorders
  • Survival factors
  • Family assistance

The team is led by Investigator-In-Charge Jim Southworth, who has more than 25 years of experience in rail investigations. An NTSB investigation typically looks not only at what occurred, but why and proposes recommendations to prevent future similar tragedies.

Several dead, numerous injuries reported in Amtrak train derailment along Hi-Line