Increased rail traffic possible in Cascade County due to Stillwater County derailment

There may be increased rail traffic through Cascade County due to the recent train derailment in Stillwater County, according to Cascade County Commissioners.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks implemented an emergency closure on portions of the Yellowstone River between Reed Point and Columbus following a partial bridge collapse and train derailment on June 24.

The Yellowstone River is closed to all public access 1 mile upstream and 2.5 miles downstream of the Twin Bridges Road railroad bridge in Stillwater County until further notice.

According to a release from the Unified Command, as of June 29, crews have removed three cars from the river since the Wednesday update.

One asphalt car was removed late afternoon on Monday and an additional asphalt car and a sulfur car were removed on June 29.

So far, a total of five cars have been removed from the river and five cars remain. The five cars remaining in the river include two asphalt cars, two sulfur cars, and a car filled with scrap metal.

Construction to the causeway continues, enabling the crews on site to continue their work to access and remove the remaining cars. Work is being performed on the eastern side of the bridge for contractors to begin transferring the contents of the remaining loaded asphalt cars on the eastern span of the bridge. This process will entail transferring the contents of the cars into stable railcars which will then be moved to a safe location away from the site, according to the release.

Agencies are continuing to assess downstream effects of the asphalt to establish cleanup and action plans, with a focus on mitigation efforts to allow headgates and irrigation ditches to be safely reopened.

Water and air quality testing and monitoring is continuing at 10 downstream locations and three upstream reference locations, according to the release. So far, no detectable levels of petroleum hydrocarbons and downstream sulfur levels have appeared.

There are no known risks to public drinking water or private drinking water wells at this time, according to the release.

The cause of the derailment is unknown and under investigation by the Federal Railroad Administration.

The Unified Command is focused on the response effort.

To report observed asphalt material, submit information to:

To report an oiled animal, call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) Response Hotline at 888-ASK-OWCN (888-275-6926) and provide the animal’s location, time last seen, and your contact information.

For more information, please visit the response websites here and here.