Idaho Tracks Closed by Derailment Could Open Saturday

Derailment has impacted Amtrak service through the Flathead Valley

By Justin Franz
A BNSF Railway locomotive is seen in the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry on Wednesday night. Photo courtesy of the Idaho State Police.

BONNERS FERRY, Idaho — Crews hope to have track closed by derailed train in northern Idaho open by Saturday morning.

The lead engine in Wednesday’s derailment began leaking diesel fuel into the Kootenai River. Three locomotives and six rail cars derailed in the remote area 10 miles (16 kilometers) east of Bonners Ferry on the main line. There were no injuries.

BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas said Thursday that crews have rerailed the six cars. One car had a load of steel while the five others were empty. One locomotive is still in the river, Melonas said, adding railway officials will determine the best way to get it out of the water.

Boundary County Emergency Management, BNSF Railway Company, Idaho State Police, Boundary County Sheriff, EMS and Fire responded to the scene.

Melonas said the derailment was caused by a rock slide. The only access to the area is by train or boat, he said.

Forty trains use the track daily including company freights and Amtrak passenger trains traveling between Seattle and Chicago, Melonas said.

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