Officials: Oil train didn't speed before Montana derailment

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal railroad regulators say an oil train that derailed and spilled 35,000 gallons of oil in northeastern Montana was traveling within recommended speeds.

U.S. Federal Railroad Administration spokesman Matthew Lehner said Monday that the train from North Dakota was traveling 44 mph before Thursday's wreck. Officials have said the maximum authorized speed in the area is 45 mph.

Lehner says the accident's cause remains under investigation.

Twenty-two cars on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe train left the track near the small town of Culbertson, and four of them leaked oil.

Nearby homes and a camp for oil-field workers were temporarily evacuated, but no one was hurt and no fire or explosion occurred.

BNSF spokesman Matt Jones says the track through Culbertson is inspected at least four times a week.