Latest CN Derailment in Alberta Causes Explosion and Fire
A Canadian National Railway train carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed in Gainford about 90 km west of Edmonton early this morning, causing an explosion and fire. 9 of the 13 derailed tank cars were carrying liquefied petroleum gas and 4 carried crude oil. 1 of the cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded and 3 others also caught fire. The main highway (Yellowhead) through Gainford was closed for an indefinite period of time. The amount of petroleum product spilled and the extent of environmental damage were not disclosed. About 49 Gainford residents were evacuated for fear of additional explosions and fires. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent a team of investigators to the site. (Chicago Tribune)
This is at least the fourth CN train reported to have derailed in Canada in the last few weeks. On October 16, 4 CN tank cars carrying anhydrous ammonia derailed in Sexsmith, Alberta. Anhydrous ammonia, a caustic agricultural fertilizer, is a dangerous good. People from about 150 homes were evacuated due to the danger and volatility of the cargo. (Calgary Herald)
The last 4 cars of a 73-car CN train derailed October 7 in Brampton, Ontario, sending one CN employee to the hospital with minor injuries. The 4 derailed tank cars carried flammable jet fuel residue. (Rail tank car “residue” can consist of up to several thousand gallons of dangerous goods per tank car. Rail companies erroneously refer to these cars as being empty.) The derailment held up numerous Kitchener GO trains. (Toronto Star)
On September 25, 17 of 130 CN cars carrying oil, condensate, ethanol and mixed freight derailed near Landis, Saskatchewan. 1 tank car leaked an undisclosed amount of oil, and the derailment sparked a grass fire. The Landis school was evacuated for a day as a precaution. The extent of environmental damage was not disclosed. (Toronto Star)
See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for many more examples of CN derailments in Canada and the United States. Rail safety experts point to the high number of derailments as evidence against the safe transport of crude oil and other dangerous goods by rail.