We Take a Look at Possible Causes for Train Derailment - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

We Take a Look at Possible Causes for Train Derailment

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March has just started and we already have multiple reports of train derailing in Montana. To find out what's behind this issue Joe Biega brings us an investigative report. Over the past few weeks we have seen over 60 train cars derail in the state of Montana. So I reached out to BNSF Railway for answers as to what is going wrong and more importantly how are they going to fix it. I got an email by Press Director Matt Jones. He says that despite the mishaps of cars derailing, BNSF has consistently lowered their accident rates by 80%. Then I spoke to long time rail worker Dean Urton to learn more about some possible causes.

"I worked 2 times the first time I was 4 years at and I worked on the freight dock here at great falls Montana for Burlington northern and then in the late 1990's I worked for powdered river," says Urton.

Urton also says the recent accidents could be a mechanical malfunction.

"Well my modelers opinion what is happening with the rail road is there is a possibility of a bad wheel, a broken axle, or faulty track that is causing it and I believe the rail road will back me there that this is what happens that is something usually mechanical," adds Urton.

This model accident set up by the Great Falls Model Railroad Club, depicts what happens after just one car locks up.

"This is physics that is involved that when you have these long trains that are moving forward at great speeds and there is a problem amongst the cars the train usually goes into dynamic breaks or an automatic stop emergency, they start sliding and in effect their being pushed by the whole train behind it," says Urton.

Jones however insists that BNSF is committed to cleaning up and restoring all derailments scenes into their original state.

Here is the full message sent by BNSF Press Director for Montana and Wyoming:

"Derailments can be caused by many factors. The factors are typically grouped into four major categories: track defects, equipment defects, human factors, and miscellaneous (including weather). The important fact is that BNSF and the industry as a whole have been successful in reducing train accident rates by more than 80 percent since 1980. There were 10 derailments in Montana in 2013, down 33% from 2004, and on a network level BNSF reduced mainline derailments to the lowest level in our history.

BNSF will restore the site of a derailment to its pre-derailment conditions. BNSF is responsible for mitigation of any spilled material and any restoration tasks."

From BNSF Press Director, Matt Jones.

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