BNSF reopens tracks after wreck in N. Dakota

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BNSF Railway Co. said it reopened the two mainline tracks that it shut after a crude oil train exploded after it hit a derailed grain train earlier in the week.

The company said in an advisory to customers that it reopened one track at 3 a.m. CT and the other at 3:15 a.m. on Thursday. BNSF said customers might experience delays of up to 36 hours on shipments through that corridor.

A 106-car eastbound BNSF train carrying crude oil crashed into a railcar of a derailed westbound BNSF grain train from an opposing track on Monday, setting off explosions and a fire that burned for more than 24 hours, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. No injuries were reported. The NTSB is investigating the incident.

BNSF, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, had been rerouting trains while the tracks were closed since Monday. Some oil trains were being routed through Sheridan, Wyoming, while some coal and merchandise trains were rerouted from Aberdeen, South Dakota, to Laurel, Montana.

BNSF spokesman Steven Forsberg said Thursday that some trains were still being rerouted, as “it will take time to get traffic flows back to normal on the route involving the derailment.”

The train crashed just west of Casselton, N.D., about 40 km west of Fargo at the North Dakota/Minnesota state line. — Reuters