Two Canadian National Railway Derailments within 16 Hours in Saskatchewan

•December 14, 2014 • Comments Off

Railroaded CN derailment image Saskatoon dec 13 20145 Canadian National Railway cars filled with grain derailed near the 11th Street bypass in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan December 13 (Global News), only 16 hours following a major derailment of 35 cars near Raymore, Saskatchewan December 12.

The Raymore derailment involved one car carrying isopropanol alcohol (a dangerous good); 22 cars carrying new automobiles which were damaged; and the rest carrying steel, canned goods and mineral oil (Regina Leader PostCBC NewsCJME).

CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents” cites many more CN derailments in Canada and the U.S.

35 Canadian National Railway Cars Derail in Saskatchewan – Updated

•December 13, 2014 • Comments Off

Railroaded CN derailment image Raymore SK dec 201435 Canadian National Railway freight cars fell off the tracks December 12 about 3 km west of Raymore, Saskatchewan (CJMECBC NewsRegina Leader Post). CN had initially said 33 cars derailed. One of the derailed cars was loaded with a dangerous good – isopropanol alcohol. 22 derailed cars were carrying automobiles, while the rest were carrying steel, canned goods and mineral oil. The major derailment forced the closure of CN’s main line.

See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of CN derailments, spills, fires and explosions.

Major Cities Don’t Want Dangerous Goods on Railways

•December 12, 2014 • Comments Off

Toronto and Mississauga want to end the transportation of dangerous goods by rail through the two cities, in the most densely populated part of Ontario (Toronto Star).

Toronto Mayor John Tory recently told reporters, “I said during the campaign and I’ll repeat it now, that I think we should be moving in the direction, in negotiation with the railways and the federal government, to stop movement of toxic and dangerous substances through the city at all”. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said, the “right solution” is to stop the transportation of dangerous goods through her city.

Regarding the fact that railway companies refuse to provide real-time information on what dangerous goods they are moving through cities, towns and villages, Mayor Tory said, “I am far from satisfied with the transparency that we don’t see today. I think it’s time to let the sun shine in on this, and it’s not just a matter of some principle of transparency. It’s a matter of people being adequately informed, in a big city like this, of what is traveling through the city, and when and how much.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens recently added, “It just seems to be in a lot of ways patently unfair that we can be stonewalled for this information…The more municipalities that come forward and stand firm it’s going to attract more attention from the federal government and the decision-makers at the federal government for sure.” (Windsor Star)

Municipalities across Canada have been putting pressure on the two big rail companies, Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway, to release real-time dangerous goods data, so they are better able to protect their citizens during derailments, spills, fires and explosions. Transport Canada, which is legislatively responsible for overall rail safety, refuses to force rail companies to hand over the real-time data to municipalities.

Canadian National Railway Derailments in Manitoba and Ontario

•December 3, 2014 • Comments Off

Twelve Canadian National Railway cars derailed December 2, 2014 near Brereton Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park about 115km east of Winnipeg, Manitoba (Global News). It took CN about 16 hours to clean up the derailment and restore service.

A CN tanker car loaded with highly corrosive sulphuric acid flipped off the tracks November 28, 2014 on Vale Canada Ltd. property in Sudbury, Ontario (Sudbury Star).

For many more examples of CN derailments, spills, fires and explosions, see CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents.

Railway Companies’ Bottom Line Continues to Trump Safety

•November 19, 2014 • Comments Off

Railroaded secret keep a photoIn spite of local municipalities, fire departments and other first responders, politicians and rail safety experts pressing Transport Canada and Canadian rail companies to provide real-time information on what dangerous goods railways are moving through our cities, towns and villages, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway and Transport Canada refuse to provide these data (Toronto Star). The information is essentially kept secret until an accident occurs, which is often too late.

Groups like Safe Rail Communities* think any information that would make our rails safer should be made public, particularly following last year’s disastrous derailment, spill, fires and explosions that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Railroaded hazardous materials sign imageQuebec. And the situation is getting worse, as Canadian rail companies transport more and more dangerous, hazardous, toxic and flammable goods across Canada, including crude oil.

Transport Canada does not even require railways to disclose their insurance coverage in the event of accidents because that information is considered commercially sensitive. Nor does Transport Canada release information on track maintenance and inspection reports, as they contain what rail companies consider third-party and commercial information. Transport Canada has repeatedly been criticized for letting the rail industry monitor its own safety.

When asked about the secrecy surrounding rail company emergency plans, York University associate professor Mark Winfield said, “The issue again goes to basic issues of accountability and the balance between the economic interests of the railways and the safety interests of the public being struck in the plans.” Peggy Nash, NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park said the Lac-Mégantic tragedy shone a light on Transport Canada’s “lack of enforcement and poor safety culture”. People have lost trust in the government systems designed to protect the public, she said.

As long as Transport Canada continues to let rail companies’ bottom line trump rail safety, the public and the environment will continue to be subjected to derailments and associated spills, fires and explosions.

Railroaded Safe Rail Communities logo image*Visit the Safe Rail Communities website at this link.

Five More Canadian National Railway Derailments Reported in Past Four Weeks

•November 18, 2014 • Comments Off

As Canadian National Railway ramps up its crude oil shipments across North America, the corporation continues to be dogged by derailments. The following 5 CN derailments in Canada were reported during the past 4 weeks:

1.  November 17, 2014: Two locomotives collided near CN’s Symington Yard in Winnipeg, Manitoba, injuring an engineer who was sent to the hospital. (Winnipeg Free Press)

Railroaded CN derailment Terrace nov 15 2014 image2.  November 15, 2014: Twenty-six intermodal cars and one locomotive derailed east of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The derailed cars carried distiller grain, lumber, pulp and rolls of paper. The derailment disrupted CN operations for about 24 hours. (BC Local News)

3.  November 8, 2014: Sixteen cars derailed while entering CN’s Gordon Yard in Moncton, New Brunswick – 10 were loaded with crude oil and 6 cars for transporting automobiles were empty. Over 150 litres of crude oil spilled from one of the derailed cars. The Moncton Fire Chief complained that his department was not contacted by CN about the derailment even though 10 of the derailed cars were filled with flammable product. The fire department was finally contacted over 7 hours following the derailment by a contractor hired to transfer oil from the damaged tank car to a spare car. It took about 2 days to clean up the tracks. (CBC NewsCBC News 2)

4.  October 26, 2014: Nine cars derailed about 130 km north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. One of the derailed cars spilled an undisclosed volume of diesel fuel. It is not known whether any of the fuel spilled into nearby waterbodies. Another one of the derailed cars was loaded with sulphuric acid. It took over 3 weeks to clean up the derailment site, including mobile vacuum units trying to remove spilled diesel fuel. (Soo TodaySoo Today 2)

5.  October 21, 2014: Three cars derailed at an intersection in southeast Calgary, Alberta, closing 52nd Street to vehicular traffic in both directions. One derailed car was loaded with oil, one with automobiles, and a third car was empty. (Calgary Herald)

For more information on CN derailments in Canada and the U.S., see CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents.

Major Canadian National Railway Derailment and Fire in Saskatchewan

•October 7, 2014 • Comments Off

Railroaded CN derailment Wadena Sask oct 7 2014 imageThis morning, a CN train carrying dangerous goods derailed near Clair and Wadena, Saskatchewan, sending plumes of smoke at least 30 metres into the air and forcing residents from their homes (CBC NewsCTV News).

The train consisted of three locomotives and 100 cars – 26 cars derailed. An explosion and fire came from petroleum distillates which spilled from two of the derailed cars. The fire was huge according to local sources, and was still burning this evening. Local officials were worried about the toxic smoke and kept people eight kilometres away from the scene. About 50 people from Clair were evacuated, as well as others from farm homes in the area. Evacuated people were sent to an operations and reception centre set up in Wadena. School students in Wadena were kept indoors during the day, as a precaution. Local farmers were worried about the safety of their livestock. Huge plumes of thick, black, heavy smoke and fire were reported as local fire departments wrestled with the fire. Provincial officials said detours would remain in place until the area is safe.

Six of the derailed cars were loaded with hazardous materials, four with either hydrochloric acid or caustic soda and two with petroleum distillates. CN refuses to provide real-time data on the hazardous materials they haul across the country, which means municipal fire departments are often left guessing what materials they must deal with in order to protect local residents whenever there is a derailment and spill such as this one.

The advocacy organizations, Transport Action Canada and Environmental Defence, expressed serious concerns about the derailment and about rail safety in general in Canada. Adam Scott of Environmental Defence said, rail companies like CN are not required to publicly disclose the types of hazardous materials being transported on trains. “It’s unacceptable. The municipalities themselves, the communities have no power, no control, and in this case no information even over what’s being run through the rail lines.” Harry Gow of Transport Action Canada, said, “I would say that if one wants to ensure safety in moving hazardous goods, one has to have inspectors who are empowered to do the work, that are trained to do more than just check the company’s paperwork, and are sufficiently numerous and well-resourced to get out on the ground and see what’s going on. The incident in Saskatchewan today is fortunately not occurring in a large town, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of oversight by Transport Canada.”

This is the sixth reported CN derailment in Saskatchewan and the 29th reported CN derailment in the Prairie Provinces during the past year. CN does not report many of its derailments, so the actual number is undoubtedly higher. See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for details of hundreds of other Canadian National Railway derailments, spills and fires in Canada and the U.S.


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