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FORT BENTON, MT – Five cars from a BNSF train derailed west of Fort Benton, MT on Friday, July 9, 2010 at about 1:30 p.m., spilling about 50 tons of grain. The train was only going less than 5 mph when the cars left the tracks.

Toppled grain cars lie on their sides in a BNSF train derailment near Fort Benton, MT

Fort Benton is in Chouteau County, Montana in the north-central part of the state, about 41 miles northeast of Great Falls, about 131 miles northeast of Helena, about 206 miles northeast of Missoula, about 225 miles northwest of Billings, about 217 miles north of Bozeman and about 196 miles northeast of Butte.

Location of BNSF train derailment just west of Fort Benton, Montana

A grain elevator run by United Harvest was near the derailment site and the mishap occured during a routine switching movement. After the incident on Saturday, a construction company was used to clear the tracks so Central Montana Rail could begin making repairs to the tracks. This was done by Patrick Construction Company from Havre, Montana.

According to a news article at the website, United Harvest reported that some of the grain was salvageable. Vacuums were used to salvage some of the grain.

Fortunately, no hazardous material was spilled and no one was injured in the accident.


The grain was on its way to grain storage units in the Pacific Northwest.

It was not known at the time of the mishap whether the cars could be re-railed or whether they will be scrapped. Ryan Riley from Patrick Construction said that if the rail cars get destroyed, they will go to a scrapyard, and if they are to be repaired, they will go to a BNSF repair yard.

Riley said that progress was going good and that they planned to lay down new rails on Wednesday and that they should have it all wrapped up by the end of the week.

Patrick Construction will charge between $1000 to $1800 per hour to fix derailments.

Below is a Google street view of the tracks west of Fort Benton, MT. You can see a train and a grain elevator in this view.

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Officials are not sure of the cause of the accident and are still investigating the incident.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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