Train Derailment

Disaster  Emergency Service patch copy (003)

Train Derailment, Reed Point 2023

On June 24, 2023, near Reed Point, Montana, a bridge collapsed derailing 17 of 52 freight train rail cars resulting in 10 cars entering into the Yellowstone River. Compromised rail cars spilled molten sulfur and asphalt into the river.  Local, state, and federal partners worked to assess impacts to natural resources and develop appropriate clean-up removal and restoration efforts.

On July 22, 2023, completion of the new bridge allowed resumed operations for train traffic. To date, teams have collected approximately 231,700 pounds of asphalt material. The mass balance, or total volume, for the asphalt material that entered the river, has been calculated at approximately 419,442 pounds of material. Therefore, crews collected approximately 55% of spilled material.

As of August 15, eight snakes and eleven birds died after encountering the asphalt material; one snake encountered the material and was released back into the environment for 20 total confirmed animals impacted by the material.

The natural resource damage process to evaluate the damage caused to the environment due to this event will continue through the Montana Natural Resource Damage Program. Additional cleanup operations will resume during the summer of 2024.