30 rail cars derailed in Missoula early this morning at the Montana Rail Link yard. Below is a press release sent out by MRL Information Officer Jim Lewis:

Updated Press Release, 11:27 a.m.:

At approximately 4:00 am on Tuesday December 16, a loaded rail car made low-speed contact with one stationary empty tank car that was coupled to twenty-nine additional empty tank cars. Tank cars have many safety features, including double shelf couplers which are designed to protect the tank car and the contents of the car when an incident occurs. The coupler design securely connects the cars, which prevents the coupler from detaching and potentially causing puncture damage. This safety feature of the tank cars worked properly, resulting in all 30 cars rolling on their side; as designed.

Heavy equipment is expected on-site early this afternoon and the re-railing process will begin. Minimal equipment damage was caused, no hazardous materials released and no injuries occurred.

Original Press Release: At approximately 4:00 AM on Tuesday December 16; thirty empty rail cars derailed in the Missoula yard. No injuries or release of hazardous material occurred. Mainline service has not been interrupted. The process to re-rail the empty cars will begin today. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Montana Rail Link is committed to the safety of our employees, the general public and our customers. Accident prevention is a primary objective of MRL. We pride ourselves on being a safe company and will continue to strive to be accident free.