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UPDATE – Boeing Comments on Fuselages at Montana Rail Link Train Derailment [AUDIO]

Montana Rail Link
photo courtesy of Andrew Spayth

UPDATE – Tuesday, July 8, 7:00 a.m.

On Monday, KGVO News reached out to the Boeing Corporation in Renton, Washington regarding the potential damage done to aircraft fuselages that slid down a rocky embankment into the Clark Fork River. We received this response from Boeing spokesperson Lynn Steinberg..

“A team of experts from Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems continues to assess damage to six 737 fuselages resulting from the July 3 train derailment near Rivulet, Montana. Once we have completed our assessment of damages and determined our next course of action, we will decide what to do with the fuselages.

Cars involved in the derailment carrying assemblies for the 777 and 747 have been inspected and their content appears undamaged. They will be shipped to the Boeing final assembly plant in Everett, arriving over the next several days.

The train was in-route from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas to the Boeing final assembly plant in Renton, Washington.”

UPDATE- Montana Rail Link crews are slowly but surely removing the massive aircraft fuselages that sled down a steep embankment into the Clark Fork River after last Thursday’s train derailment.

Spokeswoman Lynda Frost said Sunday’s recovery efforts were slow.

“It took the entire day yesterday, Sunday, to get the first fuselage out of the river and up the embankment,” Frost said. “Today, we’ve been working for the last five hours and things are going a little better. With our specialized heavy equipment that is on rails, we are basically using a cable to literally pull the fuselages up the embankment, and each one of those weigh about 70 tons.”

Frost said that even though the Montana Rail Link tracks have been reopened to traffic since Saturday, they have had to shut down operations on the line while the heavy equipment is at work.

“What we’ve had to do because that is such a confined area on top, is while we’re working to remove the fuselages from the river, we have to close the railroad,” she said. “We will be resuming traffic this evening once we’re finished using the heavy equipment on the tracks.”

She expects the job to be finished by the end of the day on Tuesday.

Frost said the actual cause of the derailment is still under investigation.

Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost

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19 cars of a westbound Montana Rail Link train carrying aircraft parts, soybeans and denatured alcohol derailed near Superior yesterday.

Spokeswoman for Rail Link Lynda Frost, said the derailment occurred at approximately 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 3, 18 miles east of Superior.

“Those cars contained aircraft components, denatured alcohol and soybeans, most of which were the aircraft components,” Frost said. “The crews have worked through the night, and it looks like that main line will be closed until tomorrow evening.”

Frost said three of the cars containing aircraft components slid down a steep embankment and ended up in the Clark Fork River.

“Three of those loaded cars did end up in the river, and we’re working hard to get those back up on the bank,” Frost said. “The three cars containing denatured alcohol did not rupture, and as of this morning had already been offloaded to other cars. The shipment of aircraft parts originated in Kansas City and was headed for Renton, Washington.”

According to Wikipedia,

“Denatured alcohol or methylated spirits is ethanol that has additives to make it poisonous, extremely bad tasting, foul smelling or nauseating, to discourage recreational consumption. In some cases it is also dyed.

Denatured alcohol is used as a solvent and as fuel for spirit burners and camping stoves. Because of the diversity of industrial uses for denatured alcohol, hundreds of additives and denaturing methods have been used. The main additive has traditionally been 10% methanol, giving rise to the term “methylated spirits”. Other typical additives include isopropyl alcohol, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, and denatonium.”

Frost said there were no injuries and the investigation into the derailment is ongoing by Montana Rail Link personnel and other agencies. Train derailments in the United States fall under federal jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railway Administration.

 Montana Rail Link Spokeswoman Lynda Frost

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