Gap in switch points believed to have caused train derailment


A train that derailed in Custer late at night June 4 appears to have been caused by a gap in switch points, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Warren Flatau, FRA deputy director of public affairs, wrote in an email to The Northern Light that Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway reported to the federal administration that the 26-car train traversed a previously run-through switch when six of its cars derailed.

“It appears the previous train left a gap in the switch points, causing this train to derail,” Flatau wrote.

The train did not release hazardous materials nor were hazardous materials compromised, according to the FRA.

The FRA is not formally investigating the derailment, but BNSF Railway is required to submit its depiction of the incident to the FRA. The administration is expected to publish the information to its website,, in a few months.

The train derailed near the 7700 block of Portal Way, between Arnie and Valley View roads, about 10:45 p.m. June 4. No loss of life or injury was reported.

BNSF railroad officers had full control of the derailed train by 1 a.m. June 5 and the main railroad was operational during cleanup later that day, according to previous reporting from The Northern Light.

BNSF Railway did not respond to questions for more information.


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