Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - A Montana Rail Link freight train derailed on Sunday morning near Quinn’s Hot Springs, according to Sanders County officials.

KGVO News spoke with Bill Brown, a dispatcher with the Sanders County Sheriff’s office early Sunday afternoon for details about the derailment.

An MRL Train Derailed near Quinn's Hot Springs early Sunday Morning

“We had a call that came into dispatch at approximately 9:20 a.m. this morning, advising us that there was a train derailment,” began Brown. “This location is approximately at mile marker 19 on highway 135 across the (Clark Fork) river from that location. We have several railroad cars that have derailed in that area and it does not appear to be a hazmat (hazardous materials) event. We have the Plains Rural Fire department that is on the scene in the area, and Montana Rail Link has been advised, and there were no injuries reported."

KGVO has also reached out to Montana Rail Link’s Communications Director Andrew Garland for a comment on the derailment.

"We can confirm that on Sunday, April 2 around 9:00 a.m., a portion of a train traveling westbound near Paradise derailed. There were no injuries, no risks to public safety, and no hazmat release. The cause of the derailment is currently under investigation with MRL personnel and first responders on site. We are committed to addressing any impacts in the area as a result of this accident, prioritizing the safety of our employees and the public, and understanding the reasons for this incident is our top priority."

A Look Back at other Derailments in Western Montana

On August 23, 2022, MRL (Montana Rail Link) reported that several cars derailed in the main rail yard. A retired Montana Rail Link engineer told KGVO that the four cars that derailed are referred to as ‘auto racks’, as they contain three levels with new automobiles on each level.

In that event, KGVO did speak to Montana Rail Link Director of Communications Andrew Garland. "We had a low-speed derailment in our Missoula yard,” said Garland. “There were no injuries that came with the derailment and the cause of the derailment is still under investigation.”

Several Boeing Fuselages went into the Clark Fork River in 2014

In 2014, a Montana Rail Link train with several large airplane fuselages for 737, 747 and 777 models derailed near Rivulet Montana.

All derailments are investigated by the Federal Railroad Administration.

At 5:00 p.m. on Monday, Montana Rail Link Chief Communications Officer Andrew Garland released the following statement on the start of cleanup at the derailment site near Paradise, Montana that occurred on Sunday morning. 

“As of this afternoon, MRL personnel and contractors continue work at the derailment site,” began Garland. “A boom has been deployed within the Clark Fork River to secure cans and bottles of beer that entered the water and to help monitor for potential diesel impacts.” 

Garland addressed other possible contamination issues from the 25-car derailment. 

“A small amount of fuel was released to the soil from two impacted refrigerator cars. MRL has been in communication with both local and federal authorities and will conduct any necessary site remediation, including impacted soil removal in coordination with DEQ (The Department of Environmental Quality)."

There continues to be no risk to the public. There are no reported injuries, and no concerns involving hazmat (hazardous material) releases.” 

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