BN Derail in North Idaho


Well-known member
This is on a main haul route between Chicago and Seattle, up to 40 trains per day. Looks like a rock slide hit the locos and pushed them into the river. It took two hours from the time they were notified for rescuers to get the two crewmen in the front loco off of the top of the loco in the river...


This looks like the main line between Spokane Wa. and Whitefish Mt. It this the Clark Fork River? That stretch of track looks familiar to me. When did this happen?
I thought I recognized the area where it happened. I lived in the Inland Northwest for many years and worked for a contractor that did business with both BN and Union Pacific. I've been over most of the routes in that region.
I might have ridden the NP North Coast Limited over those tracks as a kid, but memory fades. :D We were headed from Pasco Washington to Jamestown North Dakota
My last run over this stretch must have been 1965, on my way from Seattle to D.C. I was riding the Mainstreeter, it was less spendy.

I remember both the NP and the Great Northern Empire Builder as a kid. Also rode the Milwaukee Road. Now the yard in Pasco is a BN yard and across the Columbia near Pendelton is the Union Pacific Yard at Hinkle Oregon. I was once stuck on a siding not far from that derailment site along the Clark Fork for over eight hours while a derailment was being cleared on the Montana side. Our train was dead as we were all over hours by the time the wreck was cleared and they had to send another crew out to replace us. There are a lot more of these derailments than the public is aware of. I recall one weekend when we had four derailments all within 50 miles of Spokane and all on the same day.