Montana Train Derails into Yellowstone River

Early Saturday morning, a train crossing a bridge over the Yellowstone River in Montana collapsed, spilling hazardous materials into the water below. Though no injuries were reported, the train cars were carrying asphalt and sulfur, raising concerns for the water supply downstream.

David Stamey, Stillwater County’s chief of emergency services, shared that there was no immediate danger for the crews working at the site. The hazardous material was being diluted by the swollen river. However, an Associated Press reporter noted that a yellow substance was oozing out of some of the tank cars.

The incident occurred in a sparsely populated area of the Yellowstone River Valley near Columbus, Montana. Railroad crews were quickly dispatched to the scene and have been working to assess the situation.

The collapse occurred about 40 miles west of Billings, and the railway span was not used for public transportation. Yellowstone National Park is located about 110 miles southwest of the site.

Incident at Montana Railroad Bridge Causes Potential Hazmat Spill

The recent collapse of a Montana Railroad bridge has led to an emergency response from local officials due to fears of a potential hazardous materials spill. The accident occurred over the Yellowstone River, which was swollen with recent heavy rains. Federal Railroad Administration officials are currently investigating the cause of the collapse.

Local emergency services were quick to respond, with the Montana Disaster Emergency Services being notified of the incident. Kelly Hitchcock of the Columbus Water Users shut off the flow of river water into an irrigation ditch downstream from the collapsed bridge to prevent contents from the tank cars from reaching nearby farmland. The Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office also warned local water treatment plants in neighboring Yellowstone County to conserve water as a safety measure.

Although it remains unclear whether heavy rain was a contributing factor to the collapse, it is important to note that the Yellowstone experienced record flooding in 2022 that caused extensive damage to Yellowstone National Park and adjacent towns in Montana.

As the investigation continues, residents are urged to stay informed for any updates on potential hazards in the area. It should also be noted that sulfur, a common element used as a fertilizer as well as an insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide, may have been present in the breached tank cars.

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