Update: Statement on Empire Builder Derailment near Joplin, Mont.

Statement from Monday, Sept. 27

Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner and the company’s chief safety and operations executives are in Montana at the accident site to support National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration investigators and officials to ensure any assistance necessary is made available to them.

Additionally, Amtrak has numerous incident response team members, family assistance liaisons and nurse case managers at various locations in Montana to provide individual support for our passengers, our employees, and their families. Incident response team members deployed immediately to assist with emergency response and get passengers back to their home or destination yesterday. Our family assistance liaisons are working directly with passengers and family members to take care of all personal needs including travel and lodging. Our nurse case managers are working with those hospitalized to facilitate the delivery of medical needs. As soon as Amtrak is permitted do so by the investigators, we’ll retrieve personal effects of our passengers and crew and return them as quickly as possible.

Statement from Saturday, Sept. 25

We are deeply saddened to learn local authorities are now confirming that three people have lost their lives as a result of this accident. There are also reported injuries among the passengers and crew members travelling on the train. Amtrak is working with the local authorities to transport those who were injured to medical care, and to safely evacuate everyone else at the scene.

Our Incident Response Team has been initiated, and we are sending emergency personnel and Amtrak leadership to the scene to help support our passengers, our employees and their families with their needs. Individuals with questions about their friends and family aboard this train should call 800-523-9101.


At approximately 4 p.m. MT on Saturday, Sept. 25, Empire Builder train 7/27, traveling westbound from Chicago to Seattle/Portland, derailed operating on BNSF tracks near Joplin, MT. There were 146 passengers and 16 crew members onboard. The train consisted of two locomotives and 10 cars, with eight of those cars derailing.

We have a team on the ground to fully support the NTSB as they investigate the cause of the derailment.

Service Adjustments:

As a result of the derailment, westbound Empire Builder train 7/27, which departed Chicago on Sept. 25, is cancelled between Minot, ND (MOT) and Shelby, MT (SBY). Eastbound Empire Builder train 8, which departed Seattle (SEA) on Sept. 25 and Empire Builder train 28 which departed Portland (PDX) on Sept. 25, are also cancelled between Shelby, MT (SBY) and Minot, ND (MOT).

Westbound Empire Builder 7/27 trains scheduled to depart Chicago between Sept. 26 – 28 will terminate at St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). Eastbound Empire Builder train 8, scheduled to depart Seattle Sept. 26 – 28, will not operate between Seattle and St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). Empire Builder train 28, departing Portland (PDX) between Sept. 26 – 28, will not operate between Portland (PDX) and St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN (MSP). No substitute transportation is currently available. Amtrak customers can contact us at 800-872-7245 to obtain additional information about the status of services.

Amtrak will provide additional details as they are available.