UPDATE: SEPT. 29 AT 10:34 P.M.
Trains 7/27, which normally operate between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, will operate over the full route, effective with the Chicago departure on Sept. 28.
Trains 8/28, which normally operate between Seattle/Portland and Chicago, will operate over the full route, effective with the Seattle and Portland departures on Sept. 29.
UPDATE: SEPT. 26 AT 2:30 P.M.
Amtrack CEO Bill Flynn released a statement regarding the Amtrak train derailment that happened in Buelow, Montana Saturday:
"We are in mourning today for the people who lost their lives due to the derailment of the Empire Builder train Saturday, near Joplin, Montana, on the BNSF Railway, as well as the many others who were injured. We have no words that can adequately express our sorrow for those who lost a loved one or who were hurt in this horrible event. They are in our thoughts and prayers.
We are fully cooperating with the investigation, working closely with National Transportation Safety Board, the Federal Railroad Administration, local law enforcement and response agencies. We share the sense of urgency to understand why the accident happened; however, until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further on the accident itself. The NTSB will identify the cause or causes of this accident, and Amtrak commits to taking appropriate actions to prevent a similar accident in the future.
Amtrak’s immediate and sustained focus is on doing everything we can to help our passengers and crew, especially the families of those who were injured or died, at this painful and difficult time. Our Incident Response Team has been initiated. We have sent emergency personnel and Amtrak leadership to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs. Individuals with questions about their family and friends aboard this train should call 800-523-9101. We have also established a Family Assistance Center in Great Falls, MT, and we will have family assistance liaisons at that site to reach out to those injured and their families to make sure they get what they need. We have dispatched nurse case managers to support those hospitalized. As soon as Amtrak has permission, we will access the accident site to retrieve the personal effects of our passengers and crew.
We want to extend our deep gratitude and sincere appreciation to the Joplin and greater Liberty County communities and other Montana counties and their selfless first responders, hospital staff and law enforcement for their immediate and ongoing help to support of all those aboard the Empire Builder for responding with such urgency, compassion and patience."
UPDATE: SEPT. 26 AT 12:24 P.M.
The Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Amit Rose released a statement regarding the Amtrak train derailment that happened in Buelow, Montana Saturday:
“The Federal Railroad Administration extends our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and our sincerest hopes for the full and speedy recovery of those injured as a result of the derailment of Amtrak’s Empire Builder Train #7. Our number one focus is safety and we are committed to taking all steps necessary to prevent a similar event from occurring again.
The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating this incident which occurred on Saturday, September 25, 2021 while Amtrak’s Empire Builder Train #7 was operating westbound from Chicago, IL to Seattle, WA on BNSF Railway track. Several coaches derailed approximately 3 miles west of Joplin, which is approximately 100 miles north of Great Falls, in the vicinity of Buelow, MT, with approximately 13 crew and 141 passengers on board.
Specifically, FRA has mobilized a team of 18 individuals dispatched to the scene consisting of technical experts from core safety disciplines including track, motive power & equipment, signal and train control, and operating practices. We have initiated a thorough forensic investigation and analysis in support of the National Transportation Safety Board examining all potential causal and contributing factors.”
UPDATE: SEPT. 26 AT 10:09 A.M.
Liberty County officials held a press conference about the Amtrak train derailment that happened Saturday near Joplin, Montana.
Right now, five people are still hospitalized at Benefis Health System in Great Falls, according to the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Sarah Robbin.
Emergency crews from several counties in Montana are helping, including Benefis Health.
The public is asked to avoid the area at this time.
JOPLIN, Mont. - NTSB and Amtrak officials are expected on site Sunday, at the scene of a train derailment that left three dead, and dozens of others injured in rural Montana.
The NTSB is launching a go-team to investigate Saturday’s derailment of Amtrak’s Empire Builder train near Joplin, Montana. Team will be based in Great Falls, Montana. Check Twitter @ntsb_newsrooom for updates.— NTSB_Newsroom (@NTSB_Newsroom) September 26, 2021
The Empire Builder was headed west from Chicago to Seattle. The train was made up of two locomotives and 10 cars, 8 of which derailed near Joplin around 4 p.m. Saturday.
According to Amtrak there were 141 passengers, and 16 crew members onboard. The Liberty County Sheriff’s Office confirmed there were three fatalities and multiple injuries.
Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator for Hill County, Montana Amanda Frickel told the New York Times that rescuers from six counties along Montana’s Hi-Line were responding to the scene and that as many as five hospitals were on standby to receive injured passengers.
Other passengers were bussed to Chester High School and an area motel for the night.
A passenger on the Amtrak Empire Builder, Jacob Cordeiro, shared this video he took of the train.
In the video you can see multiple train cars off the track as passengers and crew members walk alongside it.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, westbound Empire Builder train 7 will terminate in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP) and eastbound Empire Builder train 8 will originate in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP), according to Amtrak. Amtrak says no substitute transportation is available. Customers can contact Amtrak at 800-872-7245 for additional information about the status of services.
A press conference from Liberty County officials is set for 10 AM Sunday. Additional details will be added as they're available.