More Canadian National Railway Derailments and Spills
Railroaded has just updated CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents, which lists a small sample of the thousands of Canadian National Railway derailments in North America.
The most recent CN derailment was this morning near Landis, Saskatchewan where 17 of 130 cars carrying oil, condensate, ethanol and mixed freight fell off the tracks. One of the tank cars leaked an undisclosed amount of oil. A school in Landis was evacuated for the day as a precaution. The derailment also sparked a grass fire.
This, and other CN derailments, come at a time when CN is boosting its shipments of crude oil, other petroleum products, and many other hazardous/dangerous goods across North America. CN is also considering shipping oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Prince Rupert on British Columbia’s west coast.
As CN’s rail traffic increases with longer and heavier trains, so does the number of derailments, accidents at railway crossings, wait times at rail crossings, and number of rail-caused fires. The hundreds of thousands of residents who live near CN’s rail lines have to endure more noise, other disturbance and carcinogenic locomotive diesel fuel exhaust.
Rail lines run right through the middle of our cities, towns and villages; and right along our streams, rivers and lakes, posing tremendous risks to people and the environment. The Railway Association of Canada says 12% of rail traffic in Canada involves dangerous goods. The defects of the DOT-111 model tank car, that comprises the vast majority of the total number of tank cars on our rail lines, have been known since 1991. They puncture and peel open easily during derailments, spilling their hazardous products that explode and burn and contaminate our environment. On July 6, 2013, a runaway train loaded with oil killed 47 people and destroyed much of downtown Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Oil spilled into nearby water systems, killing fish and wildlife and ruining recreational opportunities for locals and tourists. How many more similar disasters will it take before Transport Canada, the regulator of rail safety in our country, assumes its legislative responsibility to protect our citizens and our environment? We cannot, and must not, continue to let the rail industry regulate and monitor itself when it comes to safety – not when the bottom line consistently trumps safety.
The Manhatten Institute indicates the rate of spill incidents is 34 times higher for trains than for pipelines. This statistic speaks for itself, and should provide our governments and regulators with the ammunition they require to make decisions about the safest way to ship oil and many other dangerous liquids.
See this link for more information on the dangers of shipping oil by rail.