By Jared Ritz
A freight train derailed Sunday night west of Inverness, blocking two tracks and rendering one line of track still unusable. No one was injured.
At 8:45 p.m., a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train heading west from Chicago ran off the tracks, according to the BNSF. Four cars derailed.
"The cars were in an upright position, but the containers were scattered," said Gus Melonas, BNSF spokesman.
The containers were the train's cargo. Although the cars were upright, the containers on top can spill over, Melonas said.
Melonas said that many containers were scattered, but only one, filled with fish, was loaded.
One of the blocked tracks was cleared within three hours of the incident, Melonas said. The other track sustained more damage, and will not be cleared for traffic until late this afternoon or early evening, he said.
Melonas said that little travel was affected by the incident, and that the financial effects of the damage are still unknown.
"Service was minimally disrupted," he said. "We have not determined a dollar figure at this point."
The train was run by a two-man crew from Havre. Neither of the men were injured. The cause of the derailment, Melonas said, is being investigated by railroad officials.
According to today's Hill County Sheriff's report, the train's engineers said they felt that the heavy rain and wind from Sunday night's thunderstorm could have caused the derailment.
Melonas said that derailments are rare in Montana.
"This is the first one in this area in a long time," he said. "Main line derailments on the Hi-Line have been an infrequent occurrence. "