Saturday, July 5, 2014

Boeing 737s Crash into the Clark Fork River! (Updated August 4)

Thursday afternoon, July 3, 2014, three Boeing 737's crashed into the Clark Fork River!

Montana Rail Link (MRL) spokeswoman Linda Frost says  the derailment happened around 4p.m. 18 miles east of Superior near Fish Creek Road and Interstate 90.

A total of 19 cars derailed; six cars were transporting 737 fuselages; three of them nose dived toward the river. Three cars carrying soybeans, three cars with denatured alcohol and the other seven were empty. No alcohol or soybeans leaked and no one was hurt.

The fuselages were en-route from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas to final assembly at Boeing in Renton, Washington.

Fuselages covered in protecting coating passing through Renton on the old Milwaukee Road down the middle of Hauser Way, thence to the Fab Building on Lake Washington.  This is the same facility that I was fortunate to witness the first flight of a Boeing 707, from the cab of a salvage barge anchored at the end of the runway!

(Added Aug 4th.) Three fuselages that went down the embankment, plus three damaged when the transporter jumped tracks, were scrapped in situ. 

A spokesman for Pacific Steel & Recycling, located in Missoula Montana, said the company brought out a portable crusher that they use to turn automobiles into cubes.

A  fuselage was pulled apart with a backhoe and then crushed into bales. Each fuselage was reduced to about 15 bales of compressed metal, mostly aluminum. The bales were trucked to a shredding facility in Idaho.

That should allay fears that future 737 flights did not take a  dip in the Clark Fork!

This derailment occurred approximately 20 miles from the scene of another derailment last September (2013.)

In that event, MRL spokesperson Lynda Frost says 24 of the 66 car train derailed, sending some of them down a steep slope and into the Clark Fork River.

It's scenes like these that have anti-oil unit train groups sounding the alarm. Imagine DOT-111A with Bakken Crude aboard. The rocky embankment could tear the cars open like a cheap beer can!

Leaving this story on a brighter note, students of "The Road" recall beautiful scenes like this, captured by Ron V. Nixon.

A pair of Little Joes lead a mob of Geeps along the Clark Fork River. The caption reads "Milwaukee E-73, E-20, 189, 183 and 17 near Superior, Montana,  June 14, 1974."

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