Home / News / Bakken News / Freight train carrying Bakken crude oil derails near Illinois city
Smoke and flames erupt from the scene of a train derailment Thursday, March 5, 2015, near Galena, Ill. A BNSF Railway freight train loaded with crude oil derailed around 1:20 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, said Jo Daviess County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Moser. (AP Photo/Telegraph Herald, Mike Burley)

Freight train carrying Bakken crude oil derails near Illinois city

GALENA, Ill. — A freight train loaded with crude oil derailed in northern Illinois on Thursday, bursting into flames and prompting officials to suggest that everyone within one mile evacuate, authorities said.

The BNSF Railway train derailed around 1:05 p.m. in a rural area where the Galena River meets the Mississippi, according to company spokesman Andy Williams. The train had 103 cars loaded with crude oil, along with two buffer cars loaded with sand. A cause for the derailment hadn’t yet been determined. No injuries were reported.

Only a family of two agreed to leave their home, Galena City Administrator Mark Moran said at a news conference late Thursday, adding that the suggestion to evacuate was prompted by the presence of a propane tank near the derailment.

The derailment occurred three miles south of Galena in a wooded and hilly area that is a major tourist attraction and the home of former President Ulysses S. Grant. The Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the train was transporting oil from the Northern Plains’ Bakken region.

Earlier in the day, Moran said 8 tankers had left the track. But Williams said at the news conference that only six cars derailed, two of which burst into flames and continued to burn into the night.

Firefighters could only access the derailment site by a bike path, said Galena Assistant Fire Chief Bob Conley. They attempted to fight a small fire at the scene but were unable to stop the flames.

Firefighters had to pull back for safety reasons and were allowing the fire to burn itself out, Conley said. In addition to Galena firefighters, emergency and hazardous material responders from Iowa and Wisconsin were at the scene.

Related: Bakken crude more volatile than other oils, report said

The derailment comes amid increased public concern about the safety of shipping crude by train. According to the Association of American Railroads, oil shipments by rail jumped from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to 500,000 in 2014, driven by a boom in the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana, where pipeline limitations force 70 percent of the crude to move by rail.

Since 2008, derailments of oil trains in the U.S. and Canada have seen 70,000-gallon tank cars break open and ignite on multiple occasions, resulting in huge fires. A train carrying Bakken crude crashed in a Quebec town in 2013, killing 47 people. Last month, a train carrying 3 million gallons of North Dakota crude derailed in a West Virginia snowstorm, shooting fireballs into the sky, leaking oil into a river tributary and forcing hundreds of families to evacuate.

The ruptures and fires have prompted the administration of President Barack Obama to consider requiring upgrades such as thicker tanks, shields to prevent tankers from crumpling, rollover protections and electronic brakes that could make cars stop simultaneously, rather than slam into each other.

In a statement, the Federal Railroad Administration said it was sending investigators to the Illinois derailment site and that the agency will conduct a “thorough investigation,” to determine the cause.

BNSF spokesman Michael Trevino said railroad employees were on the scene and additional personnel were headed there.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner also put state personnel and equipment at the ready for deployment.

The train’s destination wasn’t immediately known.


This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. Better not build a pipeline. Lmao

  2. Soooooo……..pipeline yet you idiots?

  3. Seems the trains and pipelines are both problems.

  4. Type of cargo does not make a train wreck it can only make the results worse-
    Faulty equipment, worned out rolling stock and railways– the oil companies are curse but it is the railroads that fail to maintain equipment and the federal and state agencies that in collusion fail to enforce rules, safety standards and regulations-

  5. There is a much safer way to move crude.

  6. Maybe a pipeline would be a safer route

  7. “The state’s (North Dakota) three-person Industrial Commission seems likely to adopt a set of industry-designed best practices. Simply put, North Dakotan crude will have to be lightly pressure-cooked to boil off a fraction of the volatile “light ends” before shipment.”

    This conditioning lowers the ignition temperature of crude oil—but not by much. It leaves in solution most of the culprit gases, including butane and propane.

    Even the industry itself says conditioning would not make Bakken crude meaningfully safer for transportation, though it would make the state’s crude more consistent from one well to another.

    The only solution for safety is stabilization, which evaporates and re-liquefies nearly all of the petroleum gases for separate delivery to refiners. Stabilization is voluntarily and uniformly practiced in the Eagle Ford formation in Texas…”–Railway Age

  8. Put up a refinery keep tipping trains over feds will put a stop in transporting of it

  9. I wouldnt dought it if the tree huggers or the EPA would have something to do with it, to further there agenda

    • Or the pro-pipeline people!

    • There are two group of pro-pipeline people– those pushing the K-XL Canadian tar export pipeline and those pushing US pipelines for US needs
      The K-XL would not be carrying Bakken crude- not a single producer signed a contract of intent with TransCanada-instead they signed with ‘Energy Transfer’ direct to Iowa pipeline that is expected to be operational end of 2016-

    • Think progress! Really Thad Daly, Goebbles would be proud.
      Think progress, think George Soros!

    • Gee using the US as a jackass to carry Canadian tar crude to export is progress—?
      A Bakken pipeline direct to Illinois takes Bakken oil off Buffett’s trains. Less oil fuel fired wrecks–
      And no K-XL means Kochs will have to find a way through Canada to export their tar—
      Screwing both rich sets of men sound like progress, a real win / win

  10. Seems like an unusual number of trains are suddenly derailing and exploding lately. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark….

  11. And they didn’t want Keystone pipeline.

  12. Good thing we are vetoing pipelines!

  13. It’s not safe ship it by pipeline. It’s not safe to ship by train. Whats next flying it LOL

  14. Why is it so hard to build a pipeline?? Maybe this will help…

  15. When will this president realize pipelines are safer that trucks and rails.

  16. Keystone is a bad idea??? Wonder what Warren Buffett has to say about this.

  17. All comes down to property rights, rights of a sovereign nation and an aquifer.

  18. Bet everyone is happy that xl got icksnayed huh?

  19. Is this from the actual scene?

  20. We don’t need another pipeline in this country!!! One more pipleline is 1 too many to live with.

  21. Pipelines are much safer than rail transport.

  22. Who is John Galt. Wyatt’s Torch

  23. What this is, is a lack of investment in infrastructure and maintenance of current infrastructure.

  24. This dude Dean Rembolt does not understand a pipe line will carry oil 24/7 and not interrupt above grind activities
    Al line is required to have 36″of cover fed law water tables are far below that
    Property rights come down to land owner & company putting line in
    A sovereign nation I would rather the oil in a line instead of a pipeline above ground a 100+ cars at a time

  25. Why is it that the government hasn’t stepped up to the plate on this matter? Someone’s getting a side-dish.

  26. I’m not gonna buy a solar powered truck

  27. Do some research on the key stone pipeline, almost every two months there have been failures and massive spills at faulty pump stations, not that one is safer than the other

  28. As we right these post, pipelines are going in the ground all over the country. We already have thousands of miles of pipelines in the ground. Gee…..I wonder why you don’t hear about it. Cause there safe and if there not leaking, you won’t hear about it! Keystone is only an issue cause Warren Buffet owns the tracks/railroad that hauls the Bakken Crude. He stands to lose billions if Keystone was built! Environment has nothing to do with it. It’s simply a distraction.

  29. Oh, but for a pipeline….

  30. Keep it on the tracks dumbass!

  31. We shouldn’t forget Lac Magentic Quebec July 7, 2013; 47 people Burned to death when an Oil Train lost its Brakes.

  32. Damn…here we go again!! Results of Obamas failure to do the right thing!!

  33. All you opponents of the pipeline, take heed.

  34. The local news stated that there was no environmental concerns….boy how times are a changin….don’t want to make obozo look bad…

  35. Man they need a pipeline !!!!

  36. Build refineries in the Bakken,

    • And ship the refind products how??? I agree that we need more refineries but what gets shiped out of north dakota still needs to go where the people who are going to use it are

  37. This crude is way more flammable than other crude. Rails & tanker cars need to be updated to accommodate it. And just so people know, KXL is not to carry Bakken crude, it’s for Canada’s tar sands. The Bakken is getting its pipeline & refineries are being built, but rail will still be used. Infrastructure is key.

  38. Thanks OBAMA
    XL pipeline you idiot.

  39. Pipelines do not derail all these trains are bad for the environment


  41. pipelines are much safer, just make sure only american oil is transported on the pipelines that are putting america at risk

  42. Build the pipeline Buffet will survive if the take it off the rail. How many of these do we have to have??

  43. Ha ha BNSF. You suck again.

  44. Where’s the XL. Oh yeah, Buffet’s railroad is hauling all the oil!

  45. Dam Obama .!! You mess everything up.! Can’t even transport oil .!

  46. It comes down to politics and hearty supporters. Warren Buffett owns much of the railroads he gave Hugh amounts of money to Obama. The old railroads were not build to withstand heavy crude shipments so they are failing and you see the results. Pipeline companies didn’t support Obama , so Obama is not worried about the environment and the spills , it’s padding the democrats pockets$$$$$$&$&&&

  47. If I’m not mistaken I believe that the senator from Illinois voted against the key stone pipeline

  48. Does anyone, besides me, see the irony in this situation?

  49. Is it me or does this seem to be happening a lot lately. Possibly sabotage and the Obama regime covering up for his Muslim Brotherhood?

  50. Keystone pipeline is the way to go.

  51. Illinois Oil Train Derailment Involved Safer Tank Cars – ABC News

    This is the third recent derailment utilizing the safer 1232 tank cars.
    Tanker improvement is needed but is not the complete solution to explosions.
    Preventing derailments thru rail maintenance or lower speed limits for hazardous materials and/or abnormal weather (temperature extremes or snow) might also be needed.


  52. Can’t sell it, dump it or burn it

  53. @Bakken.com

    U.S. Rail Transportation of Crude Oil: Background and Issues for Congress

  54. Pipelines are so much safer.

  55. Sheeple………does anyone find it odd that there have been 4 major train derailments with Bakken crude in about one year. I wonder if Vegas has a book for this? Odds 100,000,000,000 to 1 I’m guessing. Mr. Buffet, give Obozo a little less and fix your tracks!

  56. Much safer than a straight pipeline

  57. Who cares what flammable material it was hauling.maybe maintain the rail better and get a president who supports america and its pipeline.

  58. If only there was a way to transport oil without loading it into train cars…..

  59. Maybe we should go back to horses and wagons

  60. I bet the libtards protesting the xl pipeline are tongue tied!

  61. Aren’t you sick of this administration playing politics with your industry and business? God Bless you and your company for keeping this nation moving despite the socialist squirrel nuts!

  62. That is incorrect. Almost 100 percent of it stays in the United States. It’s blended with Bakken crude and refined in the US Gulf Coast refineries. Read The Wall Street Journal once in awhile, or talk to people that actually work in the industry. Don’t believe the propaganda you hear.

  63. “Oil companies pledged a commitment to safety by improving the quality of the tank cars, replacing thin-skinned DOT-111 cars with a new model called CPC-1232.”

    ^^^^^This is only part of reducing the problem.
    Tank cars in West Virginia and Illinois were CPC-1232 models. Might have reduced the number of tankers exploding! no one knows for certain.

    The larger problem is primary cause of the derailments.
    Is it defective rail, is it related to temperature extremes or ice and snow, washed out track etc.
    Weather is a major influence on railroad safety, efficiency and infrastructure

    Should speeds limits be reduced under certain climatic conditions?

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