Train collision causes 47 cars to derail on BNSF tracks east of Williston

WILLISTON, N.D. - A train derailment has snagged Amtrak traffic on the Empire Builder Route.

The Williston Fire Department says at around 5 p.m. Friday, 47 cars derailed near the Leonardite Products facility on highway 1804. There were no injuries. BNSF officials are on the scene and are investigating.

Initial observations suggest one train jumped the track, running into a second train causing more cars to derail.

"At this time, the cause is under investigation. As I said, there's no hazards to the citizens at this time. The train was not carrying hazardous materials. Actually, a bunch of the rail cars were empty, said Williston Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Fronimos.

The derailment has shut down the Empire Builder route that runs through the northern part of the state. The stretch is expected to be closed at least 24 hours. But that isn't stopping some travelers from trying to get to their destination.

"I think that we're going to try to make the game no matter what. I think we're going to see what the train's going to do. If not, we'll go back home and sleep and try again in the morning with a different way, said Amtrak traveler Ken Babcock.

Amtrak traveler Bill Huft said: "No, that's not an option. We've been waiting all season long for this. And of course, if you're a Viking fan, you've got to go to the Packers-Vikings game if you've got the chance. That goes without saying."

Crews are on scene working to remove the cars and determine the cause of the crash.