Spate of Canadian National Railway Derailments
Feb 24, 2014. Fairbanks, St. Louis County, Minnesota. 50 CN cars plus 2 locomotives derailed. The train was loaded with iron ore pellets and was bound for Two Harbors. 2 engineers on the train were taken to a local hospital. (Duluth News Tribune)
Feb 23, 2014. Saint-Henri, Montreal, Quebec. 2 CN locomotives and 2 cars carrying grain fell off the rails on a CN main line close to homes, community organizations and schools. About 3,500 litres of diesel fuel spilled from one of the locomotives and caused an undisclosed amount of environmental damage. (Global News, Globe and Mail)
Feb 9, 2014. New Lenox, Illinois. 3 to 4 CN cars derailed near Lincoln-Way High School and one of the cars hit and damaged a locomotive that was stopped on an adjacent track. One of the derailed cars was carrying plastic; the others were apparently empty. Motorist traffic was blocked and had to be rerouted. This particular area is contentious among New Lenox residents because when CN bought the former EJ&E tracks, they announced plans to quadruple the number of freight trains. Local officials tried to get CN to build an overpass at one of the major crossings to mitigate the additional train traffic, but CN refused. (CBS Chicago)
Jan 31, 2014. Outside New Augusta, Mississippi. 19 CN cars fell off the tracks, spilling 50,000 gallons of crude oil, 17,000 gallons of fertilizer and 10,000 gallons of petroleum distillate. Other hazardous goods reported spilled included undisclosed volumes of fuel oil, methanol and ethanol. Most of the hazardous goods spilled from 3 of the derailed tank cars, although other derailed cars were also spilling hazardous products. About 50 nearby Perry County residents were evacuated for over 2 days and sheltered in a special Red Cross facility set up for those affected by the derailment. About 100 railroad employees and 50 government officials, firemen and police officers were on site assisting with clean up efforts which were estimated to take about a week to complete. The extent of environmental damage was not disclosed. (The Republic, Hattiesburg American 1, Hattiesburg American 2)
Jan 28, 2014. Mundelein, Illinois. A CN freight train derailed and forced Metra commuters on the North Central Services to make other transportation plans for at least a day. The cold hampered CN from repairing the tracks and moving the derailed cars, one of which was carrying plastic pellets. Several other CN freight trains were halted on the single track and had to be moved before the Metra service could be restored. (Daily Herald)
Jan 26, 2014. Saint-Basile, Edmundston, New Brunswick. 5 CN freight cars jumped the tracks; 3 were carrying automobiles, one was carrying clay and the 5th car was carrying flammable propane. The cars tipped over and were lying on their side in a ditch. A local farmer had warned CN last summer that repairs were required at the site of the derailment. (CBC News 1, CBC News 2)
See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of CN derailments. The escalating number of CN derailments and spills on main and non-main lines, plus those incurred by companies other than CN, are strong indications that the rail industry is currently not in a position to safely transport dangerous and hazardous products in North America. Significant changes are required to improve rail safety.