Train Derails Near Plains

By Beacon Staff

PLAINS – Nineteen cars of a 111-car Montana Rail Link train derailed just west of Plains early Wednesday, spilling approximately 37 tons of soybeans into the Clark Fork River.

MRL spokeswoman Lynda Frost said the derailment occurred shortly before 5:30 a.m.

No one was injured and no hazardous materials were involved. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

The 19 cars carried 2,134 tons of soybeans. Frost said one-third of the contents of one car was dumped into the river.

“The soybeans spilled into a back eddy, and they’re just swirling there,” Frost said. “It was the perfect place. The water is about 8 feet deep and the soybeans piled up and were contained to one area.”

Frost said heavy equipment needed for the cleanup arrived about 6:30 p.m., and crews would use a liquid pump to remove the soybeans from the river. MRL’s main line was expected to reopen Friday morning.

The train was traveling from Mitchell, S.D., to Tacoma, Wash.