Train Wreck

Approximately 40 coal cars fell off the tracks, spilling their contents on Tuesday near the Trail Creek interstate exit.

Train tracks east of Bozeman where a coal train derailed opened around 2:20 a.m. Thursday, according to a Montana Rail Link spokesman.

Ross Lane, a rail company spokesman, said the first train went over the new tracks around 2:45 a.m.

Lane said the rail company started to remove coal, affected soils and scrap cars out of the area. He said that process would likely span over the next couple weeks.

Thirty-three of the 39 train cars that derailed were emptied. Two train cars went down an embankment, and a small amount of coal spilled into Rocky Creek, a tributary of the East Gallatin River.

The rail company said the coal was removed from the water and devices were placed downstream to catch any remaining coal. Each train car could carry 135 tons.

The rail company said environmental contractors are monitoring the water quality of the creek.

The rail company will be escorting commuters using Trail Creek Road because of heavy equipment moving in and out of the area.

The incident happened around 12:50 p.m. Tuesday near the Trail Creek interstate exit east of Bozeman.

No details of what caused the incident have been released. No one was injured in the crash.

Freddy Monares can be reached at or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.


Freddy Monares covers politics and county government for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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