BUTTE — Gusty winds apparently blew 58 large containers off a train 13 miles west of Helena near the small community of Austin and caused numerous power outages throughout Lewis and Clark County.
According to Lynda Frost, a spokesperson for Montana Rail Link, the derailment occurred about 4:55 a.m.
"A preliminary investigation indicates the train was impacted by high winds while moving through a curve on the Continental Divide," Frost said in an email. "Four of the derailed five-pack cars and their containers are currently strewn along the slight embankment at the scene. There were no hazardous materials in those containers located on the hillside nor were there any injuries."
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Most of the containers were empty, Frost said.
"As a rule, we don't have containers on our railroad, so we have never experienced a container derailment of this magnitude," Frost said, adding that typically, the containers are shipped on BNSF tracks.
She's not sure how long it will take to clean up the derailment, but added that the track is still in use. The derailment is near the same curve where a different train went off the tracks, spilling containers, in April.