Boeing to recover remaining fuselage from derailed train -railway

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 08, 2014 12:52 PM

By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The last of six Boeing Co fuselages damaged in a train derailment were expected to be recovered on Tuesday, the railway said, clearing the way for full train service to resume.

But it remained unclear when Boeing's assessment of the damage to its aircraft parts would be finished.

Nineteen cars in a 90-car BNSF Railway Co [BNISF.UL] train derailed on July 3 near Rivulet, Montana. The train carried six 737 narrow-body fuselages and assemblies for Boeing's 777 and 747 wide-body jets. Three of the fuselages went into the Clark Fork River.

The third of those fuselages was due to be recovered on Tuesday, after the other two were recovered on Sunday and Monday, said Lynda Frost, a spokeswoman for Montana Rail Link, a private company that operates on the track where the accident occurred.

While the wreck raised concerns that Boeing's tightly orchestrated supply-chain could be disrupted, possibly leading to a production shut down, analysts said they expect Boeing can easily recoup the lost production by year-end.

Boeing said on Tuesday it continued to assess the damage, and the cause of the derailment remained under investigation.

Boeing has said that the 777 and 747 parts appeared undamaged and were being shipped to its assembly plant in Everett, Washington.

An internal memo obtained by Reuters on Monday said that the 737 production line would continue operating at a normal pace, but that employees who had not already gotten approved vacation were expected to be at work.

"For now, there is no change in our standard operating procedure," Beverly Wyse, 737 vice president, said in a memo to all Boeing 737 employees.

Production work on wings and other components for the six 737s in the derailment would continue "without any impact" but the parts will be stored, she said.

Future shipments from Boeing's supplier, Spirit Aerosystems would not be delayed, Wyse said, noting that alternative railway routes were available. BNSF Railway Co [BNISF.UL], which operated the train from Spirit's headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, said it has a northern route that has remained open.

Frost, from Montana Rail Link, said the southern route where the derailment occurred would be fully reopened after the final fuselage is recovered on Tuesday. The line had been partly open, but closed while salvage crews were working.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott, Editing by Franklin Paul, Bernard Orr)