Early Wednesday morning when many people were still sleeping, the first engine of a five-engine, 72-car Union Pacific Railroad train derailed after hitting a snow drift in Monida at the Montana-Idaho border.
A spokesperson from Union Pacific said the train “derailed in an upright position” at about 4:45 a.m. north of I-15 near the intersection of South Valley Road and Snowline Stock Lane.
No damage was sustained, there were no chemical spills and no one was injured, said Beaverhead County Sheriff David Wendt.
Wendt said in addition to the snow, wind speeds probably contributed to the derailment.
“The wind was blowing like you wouldn’t believe,” Wendt said, adding that low visibility took him 20 to 30 minutes longer than usual to get there from his home in Lima.
People are also reading…
A meteorologist from the National Weather Service said the wind around the Monida crossing started gusting at 50 miles per hour at about 4:30 in the morning and continued for two hours. He said at 4:52 a.m., the speed maxed out at 55 miles per hour. He also said the fastest wind gust was 65 miles per hour.
Wendt said Union Pacific personnel told him the train should be put back on the tracks between 7 and 9 p.m., which he said was remarkable. He added the train was expected to continue on its journey after that.
Each engine weighs 412,000 pounds, according to a statement posted on Facebook by the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office.