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Derailed Train in Montana Sends Boeing Fuselages Into River

Image: Three Boeing 737 fuselages lie on an embankment on the Clark Fork River after a BNSF Railway Co train derailed near Rivulet
Three Boeing 737 fuselages lie on an embankment on the Clark Fork River after a BNSF Railway Co train derailed Thursday near Rivulet, Montana in this picture taken July 4. Kyle Massick / Reuters

A train derailment in Montana last week damaged a shipment of jetliner fuselages and other large parts on its way to Boeing Co factories in Washington state from Spirit Aerosystems, Boeing said on Saturday.

It was not yet known if the accident might affect production of planes, the company said. Boeing's production depends on a complex supply chain that deliver many parts just in time for assembly, but the company often has the ability to prevent minor problems in logistics from idling its factories.

Boeing said a BNSF Railway Co. train loaded with six 737 narrowbody fuselages and assemblies for its 777 and 747 widebody jets derailed in Montana while en route from Wichita on Thursday.

A total of 19 cars in the 90-car train derailed in the incident about 18 miles (30 km) east of Superior, Montana, said Rail Link Montana. The rail company links with BNSF to carry freight from Billings in southern Montana through the state to Spokane, Washington where it links back to BNSF.

Of the derailed cars, three cars carrying 737 plane fuselages went down an embankment and into the Clark Fork River.

The cause of the derailment was not yet known, said Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost, but added that speed was not considered to be an issue. There is a 35 mph (48 kph) speed limit on that section of the track, which is curvy as it tracks the Clark Fork, she said.

— Reuters