Train derails near Apple Creek; dozens of cars spill coal

2010-07-10T21:14:00Z 2012-01-19T11:36:38Z Train derails near Apple Creek; dozens of cars spill coalBy BISMARCK TRIBUNE STAFF Bismarck Tribune
July 10, 2010 9:14 pm  • 

A Burlington Northern Santa Fe train derailment east of Bismarck on Saturday left about 30 rail cars full of coal twisted and piled along the banks of Apple Creek.

No one was injured in the derailment. Burleigh Country Rural Fire and other emergency personnel responded to the derailment between 66th Street and 93rd Street about 4 p.m.

"None of the train crew was injured. There were no injuries. The engine did not leave the tracks,” Burleigh County Sheriff's Deputy Trent Wangen said. “All the cars that derailed were coal cars.”

The location of the derailment is mainly pasture land and farmland, Wangen said. The closest home is about a quarter-mile from the derailment, he said, and Apple Creek also is about a quarter-mile away.

“There was no property damage other than property damage to BNSF," he said.

The derailment temporarily blocked a crossing near 93rd Street until the car was moved. It also caused a slow-spreading grass fire that covered two acres. Although the location made it difficult for firefighters to find access to the fire on the south side of the derailment, it was quickly contained.

All emergency personnel cleared the scene by 7:00 p.m. BNSF crews are cleaning up the site, which is on the railroad's main line, and are investigating the cause of the wreck, Wangen said. The coal train was headed east but he did not know its exact destination.

"That is a main line for BNSF, so they have equipment en route," he said. Representatives for BNSF could not be reached Saturday to

comment on a repair timeline.

Copyright 2015 Bismarck Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Snipe312
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    Snipe312 - July 11, 2010 4:33 pm
    You can't just pick up and move the rail lines out of bismarck and mandan. For one, it would cost to much to do that. BNSF would decide to just run the coal through their southern line in South Dakota cause it would be cheaper than building new lines and a new bridge. Also, in Mandan they have one of the best repair facilities in the entire BNSF system you cant just tear down a multimillion dollar building just to move the rail lines, they don't build repair shops like that anymore.

  2. vermontanan
    Report Abuse
    vermontanan - July 11, 2010 3:27 pm
    Sorry, "Other Side." Yours is the argument without merit. Comparing the railroad being on the land first with Native Americans are mutually exclusive arguments.

    There's no such thing as BNSF stock anymore. But if you meant Berkshire Hathaway (B), consider this: If BNSF had to pay the hundreds of millions to route the railroad around podunk Bismarck/Mandan, just think of the money it would take in places like Chicago and Seattle. Your stock would be worth zero because the railroad would be broke.

    Trains derail periodically now, as they always have. It was everyone else who has chosen to build right up to the railroad, not the other way around. There is risk involved in building everywhere for one reason or the other. If you ever succeeded in bankrupting BNSF to build your bypass, the next thing that could happen is a semi-truck tanker could explode in your town, or an airplane bound for the local airport crashland in a residential area. Then what? You can never be 100 percent safe, but overall, railroads keep us safer by taking a lot of this traffic off highways were all of us drive.
  3. The other side of the coin
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    The other side of the coin - July 11, 2010 3:11 pm
    Vermontanan, here is just a little more information about the BNSF Corporation that you might find interesting:

    The BNSF Railway is an American freight railroad company headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas; it is one of four remaining transcontinental railroads and one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America.

    Only the Union Pacific Railroad, its primary competitor for Western U.S. freight, is larger in size. The BNSF Railway moves more intermodal freight traffic than any other rail system in the world.

    It was formed December 31, 1996, as the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad.

    On January 24, 2005, the railroad's name was officially changed to BNSF Railway.

    The BNSF Railway is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation.

    According to corporate press releases, the BNSF Railway is among the top transporters of intermodal freight in North America.

    It also hauls enough coal to generate roughly 10% of the electricity produced in the United States.

    On November 3, 2009, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced that it would acquire the remaining 77.4% of BNSF that it didn't already own for $100 per share in cash and stock - a deal valued at $44 billion.

    The company is investing an estimated $34 billion in BNSF and acquiring $10 billion in debt. On February 12, 2010, shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted in favor of the acquisition.
  4. The other side of the coin
    Report Abuse
    The other side of the coin - July 11, 2010 2:48 pm
    Vermontanan, your argument lacks any merit and I have heard it before, perhaps from you.

    The “they were there/here first” is nonsensical as if it had any validity, all us White folk, African American folk, Hispanic folk, Oriental folk, etc., would have to back our bags and buy tickets on ships and airplanes and move out of the United States and turn it over to the Native Americans as they were here first.

    As far a paying for a new bridge why should the taxpayer be burdened with a dilemma the BNSF Corporation has to solve on its own.

    BNSF is floating in money from its coal carrying trains traveling east to thermal-electric power plants.

    Somewhere around twenty coal carrying trains pass through Bismarck-Mandan each day.

    Some of the coal goes to Superior Wisconsin where it is loaded on ships to go to points further east via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    I have some BNSF stock and it is doing very well, thank you.
  5. vermontanan
    Report Abuse
    vermontanan - July 11, 2010 12:42 pm
    "The other side of the coin" stated:

    'Perhaps it is time for BNSF to build a new bridge and a bypass of Bismarck-Mandan instead of running right down the middle of both cities?'

    Reality check: The railroad was there first. Therefore, the cities should more (provided this really is a problem that merits this) or the cities should pay for the railroad to be rerouted.
  6. Energy Efficiency
    Report Abuse
    Energy Efficiency - July 11, 2010 12:03 pm
    I worked for Burlington Northern for a number of years and witnessed derailments. For that reason alone, at every railroad crossing, I choose to park at least 3 automobile lengths from the tracks when a train is approaching. So if I see a derailment coming, I would have time to either reverse my direction or bail out of my car and run the opposite way. We should be looking at a permanent railroad "Quiet Zone" for the city of Bismarck, not one for just a couple of days.
  7. The other side of the coin
    Report Abuse
    The other side of the coin - July 11, 2010 9:02 am
    It is probably too early to come up with a reason why this derailment occurred, although the high temperature on Saturday was ninety-five degrees and metal rails expand as the temperature rises.

    The three excellent photos that accompany this article shows utter devastation as the cars are scattered and overturned along the single mainline railroad track.

    Ponder this, what would the consequences of this derailment have been if it had occurred some few miles to the west within Bismarck or Mandan?

    Would lives have been lost or injuries occurred?

    Would property have been damaged?

    Many downtown businesses are located close to the track and would those buildings have incurred damage and a loss of lives on a busy Saturday afternoon?

    It does not take much imagination to envision a family sitting in their automobile at the Third Street crossing, here in Bismarck, waiting for the train to pass and then having a coal car derailing and squishing them and their automobile under tons of steel and coal.

    Perhaps it is time for BNSF to build a new bridge and a bypass of Bismarck-Mandan instead of running right down the middle of both cities?

    On a more positive note, Bismarck-Mandan will have quiet rail for a couple of days.
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