Central Plains Ag Services


BNSF to re-open Montana route following avalanche

Freight shipments could be delayed as much as 48 hours as service on BNSF’s route through the Montana Rockies is expected to resume late Tuesday after an avalanche blocked tracks and temporarily stranded two Amtrak trains over the weekend.

In a service notification, BNSF Railway planned to re-open the Northern Corridor through Marias Pass at 4 p.m. CST. The railroad said blizzard warnings are in effect, and that more avalanches are possible. A foot or more of snow is expected by Tuesday evening. 

Freight customers may experience delays of 36 to 48 hours on shipments moving through the area, the railroad stated.

Late on Feb. 7, Amtrak’s Marc Magliari told Railway Age, “We just received word from BNSF that we will originate tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) Empire Builder trains to operate normally over their full route, reaching Idaho and Montana on Thursday.”

The avalanche damaged tracks near Summit, Mont. on Sunday. Amtrak’s train No. 8, the eastbound Empire Builder traveling from Seattle to Chicago, was initially stopped at Essex, Mont., and was later moved back to Whitefish. The No.7 westbound Empire Builder out of Chicago was stopped at Browning, Mont., before being moved east to Cut Bank.