By Larry Kline/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. spokesman said Thursday that a judge's order to halt operations at a new refueling depot in Idaho means that trains coming through Havre may stop for longer periods of time to fuel.
BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said the railroad will be fueling more locomotives in Havre than it has since a new refueling facility opened in Coeur d'Alene in September.
"Rather than fueling up at the fueling station in north Idaho, we will now fuel more traffic at the other facilites, including Havre, Seattle, Vancouver, Wash., and Tacoma," Melonas said. "We will determine fuel scheduling based on traffic volume."
No train traffic will be re-routed because of the facility's closing, but trains may stay longer in Havre and other locations in order to refuel. Melonas said new fueling plans are being developed.
"We are continuing to serve costumers across Montana and the nation, along with international customers, but this does have an impact on efficiency," Melonas said, referring to an order issued Wednesday that closed the Coeur d'Alene refueling depot.
The refueling depot was closed at the request of Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ said that leaks from the facility threatened an underground aquifer that serves about 400,000 people in the Spokane, Wash., and Coeur d'Alene areas.
Melonas said the railroad is working to repair the facility.
"We're working on corrective measures to ensure protection of the environment," he said.
About 50 trains move along the Hi-Line route every day, Melonas said.