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Three die in Empire Builder derailment

 

Last updated 9/26/2021 at 9:38am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Officials work on an Amtrak derailment west of Joplin Saturday evening.

Updated 7:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept, 26.

Liberty County Sheriff's office reported that three people died in a derailment of Amtrak's Empire Builder west of Joplin and an unknown number people were injured.

Jason C. Abrams of Amtrak said at about 10:30 p.m. Saturday that the Empire Builder derailed eight cars near Joplin at about 4 p.m. with approximately 141 passengers and 16 crew members on board.

Injuries were reported, Abrams said earlier, but details were not available. He said additional details would be provided as they become available.

He said Amtrak is working with the local authorities to transport those who were injured to medical care, and to safely evacuate everyone else at the scene.

"Our Incident Response Team has been initiated, and we are sending emergency personnel and Amtrak leadership to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs," Abrams said in his emailed statement.

Abrams said people with questions about their friends and family aboard the train should call 800-523-9101.

The train comprised two engines and 10 cars.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday confirmed the three fatalities, but details were not available.

Montana Highway Patrol reported a derailment was reducing traffic lanes and causing delays.

The Empire Builder, one of Amtrak's long-distance passenger trains, runs along the Hi-Line on its route from Chicago to Seattle and Portland.

BNSF Railway owns and operates the tracks upon which the Empire Builder runs in north-central Montana.

Lena Kent, BNSF general director public affairs, said about 8:17 p.m. Saturday that BNSF has confirmed that an Amtrak train derailed on BNSF tracks near Joplin.

As a result of the derailment, Empire Builder trains 7/27 and 8/28 originating Saturday, Sept. 25, are canceled between Minot, North Dakota, and Shelby. Additionally, Sunday, Sept. 26, westbound Empire Builder train 7 will terminate in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and eastbound Empire Builder train 8 will originate in Minneapolis, Minnesota. No substitute transportation is available.

Amtrak customers can contact the passenger rail service at 800-872-7245 to obtain additional information about the status of services.

Amtrak customers can contact us at 800-872-7245 to obtain additional information about the status of services.

Watch here for updates.

 

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