Derailment update: BNSF, Amtrak resume operations

WILLISTON – One BNSF main track reopened early Sunday morning near Williston and train traffic has been operating on it following a derailment there on Friday, according to Amy McBeth, Minneapolis, BNSF public relations director for this region.

Two trains were operating on adjacent tracks when they derailed about 5 p.m. on Friday. Forty-three cars derailed – 33 from an empty grain train and 10 from a local train, McBeth said.

She said two main tracks, both BNSF tracks, were impacted in the incident. She said a second main track should reopen in a few days.

McBeth said the local train was on one main track and the empty grain train on the other. Both were BNSF trains. She said a “local” train means it was a train serving customers in the area and these are typically trains with fewer cars, which are picked up or set out for customers. She said the grain train was operating through the area.

Amtrak passenger trains use the BNSF tracks.

Vernae Graham, a spokesperson for Amtrak, said the tracks were reopened at 1:18 a.m. Sunday and all Amtrak trains now are operating.

Because of the derailment Friday evening Amtrak chartered buses to bridge the temporarily track outage between Williston and Minot.

Graham said as a result of the bus bridge, the eastbound Empire Builder, Train 8, of Oct. 12, was delayed 13 hours and 50 minutes. The westbound Empire Builder, Train 7, of Oct. 13, was delayed 2 hours and 41 minutes.

Train 8, of Oct. 13, was delayed at Williston 4 hours and 35 minutes. “It held for open track at 1:18 a.m. this morning,” Graham said.