Montana Rail Bridge Collapse

The bridge in Columbus, MT collapsed under a Montana Rail Link train. MRL is class Ii railroad with 900 miles of track.

No info on cause but possibly a maintenance issue. Strange that the bridge failed mid-train rather than under the much heavier locomotive. Could be another derailment that damaged the bridge. Bridge design is ancient. Certainly not recent.


Ya know, I was thinking the same thing. Wierd.


The weight load damage might have needed oscillating vibration that built up and found a dangerously reverberant hot frequency while the train passed over to arrive at actual ruptures of support.

Failures often happen at weird removes from infliction of damage.

david fb

Haven’t read much but the initial reports, but it was said to be a derailment. Depending on where, the locomotive could have gone merrily across the bridge, and 10 cars back an axle broke, the (fully loaded) tank car headed east on a northbound train, taken out a supporting strut, and there you go.

Speculation, of course.

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I am thinking some kid was putting pennies on the track.