Grain train derailment spurs concerns over oil

KREM 2's Taylor Viydo explains what BSNF plans to do after a train derailed in Bonner County. Many viewers were concerned, since that same track often has oil trains pass through. (5-1-17)

BONNER COUNTY, Idaho – The site where a train derailed in North Idaho Monday morning is the same set of tracks that carries oil tankers on an almost daily basis.

The train that derailed Monday near Highway 95 in Bonner County was not carrying oil – it was carrying grain.

However, the possibility of that being oil raised concerns for many of you. So KREM 2 On Your Side wanted to know what will be done once those tracks are repaired to make sure another derailment does not happen again.

A spokesman for Burlington Northern Santé Fe tells me that the damaged rails will be replaced, conditioned, and inspected by staff. They also said the first trains that hit those tracks will go slower than normal.

The derailment happened just off Highway 95 South of Cocolalla. The good news is that no one was hurt, but crews have a lot of clean up to do. Roughly 25 cars derailed Monday and the mess speaks for itself.

Train derails along Highway 95 near Cocolalla

BONNER CO., Idaho - Bonner County Dispatch officials confirmed a train derailed along Highway 95 near Cocolalla Monday morning. Between 25 and 27 cars, filled with grain, of the BNSF train derailed. Officials said the cars will be moved to the side of the tracks on Monday and most will be cut up.

So, what if that was oil? BNSF said on average, two trains carrying oil pass through those same tracks each day.

First, the damaged rails and ties will be replaced – brand new. That will happen before any oil tankers travel on them. Machinery will then surface that track and condition the rock which holds the track in place.

Once that is done, engineering staff on the ground will visually inspect the track to make sure it all looks okay and only then can a train go over the new track.

The line where the derailment happened gets plenty of use, too. Around 60 trains a day come through here – including two Amtrak trains.

BNSF said they plan on having the rails repaired overnight and the lines reopened at some point Tuesday. Trains that were supposed to go through that area Monday were either rerouted or postponed until Tuesday.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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