Pictured: NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg, investigator John Manutes and Investigator-In-Charge Jim Southworth at the scene of the Amtrak derailment near Joplin, Mont. (Caption and Photograph: Courtesy of NTSB, via Twitter, Sept. 27)

Amtrak Empire Builder Derailment Investigation Under Way, Montana Track Reopens (Updated Sept. 29)

Amtrak’s Empire Builder train 7/27 traveling westbound from Chicago to Seattle/Portland on Sept. 25 derailed near Joplin, Mont., at 3:55 p.m. MT. The passenger train was traveling between 75-78 mph, below the 79 mph speed limit, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported on Sept. 27 during its first media briefing.

Between UAS and inspection teams on the ground, BNSF covered 130 miles of affected railroad after Hurricane Ida. Looking for track washouts, structure damage, and signal and crossing outages, every section of railroad was checked. Clean-up crews followed with excavators, chainsaws and grapple trucks, for instance. (Photo: Courtesy of BNSF)

BNSF: Bracing for Impact, Restoring Service

Hurricane-force winds can knock freight cars off the track. Fast-rising water is strong enough to wash crossties out from underneath the rail, leaving the steel suspended like streamers. Impact from debris can destroy entire bridges. And when power lines are downed, critical signal and communications systems are disabled. Here’s how BNSF prepares for recovery when hurricanes like Ida approach.