MOYIE SPRINGS — Emergency responders struggled to access a derailed southbound Union Pacific grain train early Wednesday morning, after an estimated five cars derailed near a 100-foot embankment just above the Moyie Dam.
Boundary County emergency responders were called out to 2705 Eileen Road at about 7:30 a.m. when Union Pacific personnel reported that a washout on the tracks caused a derailment about four miles north of U.S. Highway 2 on the Moyie River Road.
“Photos show the train was crossing the slide area and the vibration of the train caused that area to let go,” said Boundary County Public Information Officer Michael Meier. “The engine and several cars were past the slide area, but four railcars with grain slid down the hill close to the river, an additional six to eight cars were on their side within the rail line area.”
Due to the geographic location, Emergency responders were unable to access the scene or get a visual.
A flight crew canvassed the scene so that responders could better understand the situation.
The derailment is reportedly inaccessible to motorized EMS vehicles and responders are only able to hike in at this point.
No injuries have been reported by Union Pacific personnel.
Meier said the derailment involves 12 railroad cars loaded with grain. None of the cars reached the Moyie River and there was no hazmat material involved.
According to Meier, Road and Bridge moved some equipment to the area to keep the roads passable, the Sheriff’s Department took some aerial photos of the derailment, Emergency management met with Union Pacific Representatives, and Clean Harbor Hazmat clean up Company who works for Union Pacific was contacted by phone.
“The area of the derailment is very remote with very steep terrain,” Meier said. “Depending on how the Union Pacific approaches this derailment will be the deciding factor on equipment they use.
The Railroad may have to resort to all equipment being High-lined (brought in by rail) to the site.”