Kettle Falls engine derailment

(Information on this site is considered to be accurate at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.)

Two engines and a box car derailed where a landslide had undermined the track. Two railroad employees received minor injuries. There has been no significant release of fuel from the engines and there is no immediate threat of a spill to the Columbia River. The engines may contain a combined total of 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

Summary information

Date of incident: August 5, 2009
Location:

9 miles south of Northport, Stevens County, WA

(map)
Type of incident: No significant amount released, but engines may contain a combined 4,000 gallons diesel fuel
Cause of incident:
Responsible party: Kettle Falls International Railway Company
Kettle Falls Engine derailment downhill photo

Kettle Falls Engine derailment downhill photo.

Status updates

August 12, 2009

Recovery of the locomotives was completed Tuesday. The slope stabilization and track repair are expected to be completed by the end of the week.

August 7, 2009

Diesel and battery acid off-loading from the two engines was completed at 8:30 p.m. Engines are stable at this time.

Salvage, rail repair and cleanup operations are underway that may take an estimated 10 days. No spill to water. Precautionary containment boom will remain in place until salvage operations have been completed.

August 6, 2009

Diesel offloading from the two engines is in progress, going smoothly. Should be completed by 1600 hours today.

Still no major spill, engines are stable at this time, tanks are intact.

No spill to water. Precautionary containment boom is in place.

Once fuel is offloaded, a closer inspection of the spill area will occur. Fuel spill cleanup planning will continue.

Could be weeks before engines are salvaged because of unstable ground around engines and destroyed track bed. Contract geologists are on scene assessing the site and assisting in recovery planning.

August 5, 2009

A unified command has been formed to respond to the derailment of two railroad engines nine miles south of the community of Northport in Stevens County, Wash.

At 10:53 a.m. Stevens County Sheriff’s office received a report of the derailment in a wooded area adjacent to the Columbia River. Two engines and a box car derailed where a landslide had undermined the track. Two railroad employees received minor injuries.

Responders include the Kettle Falls International Railway Company, Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, the Washington Department of Ecology and Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.

Officials report no immediate threat to local residents or the environment. Ecology spill responders report that there has been no significant release of fuel from the engines and there is no immediate threat of a spill to the Columbia River. The engines may contain a combined total of 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

The railway company has hired a contractor to remove the fuel and right the engines.

News releases

Media contact

Ty Keltner, Media contact, ty.keltner@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990, @