By: Bob van der Valk

Steve Unterseher of Smiley’s Energy Service was traveling from Williston, North Dakota back home to Fairview, Montana. He did not know his friend was on the train involved in am accident until after another co-worker told him when came upon the scene of the Amtrak train stalled on the track with major damage to the front portion of the diesel locomotive. About a half a mile further was a bulldozer lying on its side with its operator still trapped underneath. Rescuers were already on scene extracting the wounded man from the wreckage.

A construction company is rebuilding a section of ND Hwy 1804 between Trenton, ND and ND Hwy 58. It appears as though they may be building it into a four lane road. The road runs south of and parallel to 1804 until about 5 miles west of Trenton where the highway turns north then northeast and crosses the tracks. Apparently the bulldozer operator was attempting to cross the train tracks from the north side of the highway going toward the highway facing south. The tracks to the west curve around a hill so it is essentially a blind curve for the train engineer. No injuries were reported on the train by Amtrak officials; however, the train passengers were not allowed to get off the train pending the arrival of a replacement diesel engine.

The dozer operator was transported to Mercy Hospital in Williston, North Dakota by Life Flight helicopter, where he passed away.

damaged Amtrak diesel locomotive 7-30-13
(Photo) Damage to Amtrak diesel locomotive right after the accident – 7-30-13

The accident was caused by the Amtrak train coming around a blind corner and the engineer not seeing the bulldozer on the track ahead of him. Road 1804 is under construction and parallels the tracks between Trenton and Highway 58. No one on the train was hurt but passengers were not allowed to disembark to get rides with waiting friends. Amtrak waited for another diesel engine to arrive to take over for the damaged one.

A hole in the front of the diesel locomotive of the train was observed along with severe damage to the bulldozer, which landed on its side next the railroad track.

Dick Reed and his wife, who live in McMinnville, Oregon, were on the train while Amtraking to Little Rock, Arkansas via Chicago. Dick Reed stated that it got pretty hot inside the coach because of the lack of HEP*. After the night air started cooling off the train the crew opened doors to try to get an air circulation to the passengers.

*Head End Power is a system of electrical power distribution on a passenger train in which a power source in a central location on the train (usually a locomotive or a generator car) generates all the electricity for “hotel” power (non-traction, or non-motive power uses) needed by the train. Virtually all modern passenger trains have their electrical needs met in this fashion. The acronym HEP is its common usage.

Temporary repairs made to damaged Amtrak diesel locomotive parked in Trenton, ND

(Photo) Temporary repairs made to damaged Amtrak diesel locomotive parked in Trenton, ND
Pictures by Steve Unterseher

Bismarck, N.D. – The North Dakota Petroleum Council (NDPC) will host the Oil Can! Community Day on Monday, Sept. 16 during its Annual Meeting at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The Community Day will include two Bakken Basics Education Sessions, a barbecue, activities for kids, and access to the NDPC Members-Only Showcase.

“We are able to host educational sessions about the oil and gas industry in western North Dakota throughout the year through our Bakken Rocks CookFests and other events, but many residents in the eastern half of the state haven’t had the opportunity to attend these kinds of events,” said Tessa Sandstrom, NDPC communications manager. “By holding our Annual Meeting in Grand Forks, we are bringing the Bakken east and giving residents of the Red River Valley the chance to learn more about the Bakken and ask industry experts about oil and gas development in North Dakota.”

The Bakken Basics Education Sessions are scheduled for 2:30-4 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. and will include talks by Ron Ness, president of the NDPC; Lynn Helms, director for the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources; and Kathy Neset, president of Neset Consulting Service. A community barbecue featuring smoked pulled pork, smoked sausage and BBQ chicken, courtesy of Halliburton, will follow the educational sessions and go until 7:30 p.m. NDPC member exhibits and activities for kids, including a face painter, balloon artist and bounce house and slide will be open from 3-7:30 p.m. Exhibitors include Grand Forks businesses, as well as leading oil and gas producers and service companies operating in the Bakken. A pumping unit, workover rig, wireline truck, crane and ONEOK’s Natural Gas Mobile Museum will also be on display.

The Oil Can! Community Day is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.northdakotaoilcan.com/events/2013CommunityDay/.

The NDPC Annual Meeting will run from Monday, Sept. 16 to Wednesday, Sept. 18, and will feature a keynote address from legendary Notre Dame coach, Lou Holtz. An agenda and costs for attending the full meeting are available at https://annualmeeting.risprojects.org. Members of the media wishing to attend may contact Tessa Sandstrom at tsandstrom@ndoil.org or 701-557-7744.

Since 1952, the Petroleum Council has been the primary voice of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The Petroleum Council represents more than 420 companies involved in all aspects of the oil and gas industry, including oil and gas production, refining, pipeline, mineral leasing, consulting, legal work, and oil field service activities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Region. Our members produced 98% of the 243 million barrels of oil produced in North Dakota last year. For more information, go to www.ndoil.org.

NEWS Release

Call in registration 1-800-574-4852 for discount: mention code BBOJ-25

We invite you to attend the OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN MONTANA conference to be held October 2, 2013 at the Billings Petroleum Club in Billings, Montana.

This seminar presents an overview of several important areas of oil and gas law, including: leasing considerations from the lessor and lessee perspectives, mineral conveyancing, state regulation of oil and gas development, environmental protection/regulation, and contracting. In addition, you will hear a discussion on the future of oil and gas development in Montana.

This program is a must for anyone involved in the oil and gas industry, whether as an attorney, landman, government official or developer. Our distinguished panel consists of experienced and well-known oil and gas attorneys, together with top government officials and industry representatives. By attending, you will learn from the foremost experts on oil and gas development in Montana.

Thank you to the Seminar Sponsors: Bakken Oil Business Journal, The OGM & Montana Energy Review.

Want to promote your company by becoming a Sponsor of this seminar? Call The Seminar Group at 800-574-4852 for more information.

Who Should Attend:

  • Attorneys/Legal Staff
  • Landmen
  • Government Regulators
  • Energy Representatives
  • Developers/Landowners
  • Risk Management Workers
  • Corporate Planners
  • Engineers & Land

The Seminar Group, an educational organization providing quality professional education throughout the United States, sponsors this conference. This seminar is approved for the following credits

This course has been approved by the Montana State Bar for a total of 5.5 CLE credits. (Live Credits for Attending & Webcast) Up to 5.0 self-study hours are available.

This course has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 6.0 credit hours. (Live Credits for Attending & Webcast)

This course may qualify for architect, engineer and land surveyor credit through the Montana Board for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors. (Live Credits for Attending & Webcast)

If this seminar has not been approved for the credits you require, let us know and we will look into it for you.

For more information and registration, please call toll free (800) 574-4852. Or visit us online at: