Crews will work through the night Thursday to continue cleanup efforts after a 23-car train derailment early Wednesday morning.
Alan Brockway lives just across the Clark Fork River from the mess left after the train traveling on a Montana Rail Link line derailed around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, sending four empty cars in to the water.
Brockway and neighbors watched crews come in late Wednesday and work overnight.
“The folks worked all night last night,” Brockway said Thursday. “They had light stands and machinery lights going, they were trying to get as far along as possible.”
It's a big job. Some cars had been carrying lumber which now sits on the steep hill above the river.
“There are thousands of two-by-fours lying over there,” said Brockway. “You know I don't know what they're plan is there.”
Montana Rail Link spokesperson Lynda Frost said they hope to have the track cleaned, repaired and running by Friday morning. But they won't start clearing the cars from the hill or from the river until Monday. Frost said that process could take as long as a week.
In the meantime a river safety crew waits in a boat upriver, they're watching for debris that could fall in and also guiding floaters and fishermen to the opposite side of the river until the area is clear.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation. According to data from the Federal Railroad Administration, in the last ten years 253 derailments were reported in the state, but no reports of derailments in Mineral County until now.