Rash of Canadian National Railway Derailments
Seven cars of a 105-car Canadian National Railway train derailed and overturned on a main line August 1, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Times-Picayune and other sources). One derailed car was full of difluoromethane residue which is a refrigerant and a dangerous product. (Railway companies erroneously consider a tank car with residue as “empty”, whereas such a tank car can actually contain up to 2,000 gallons of dangerous product.) Two of the derailed cars carried lube oil, one car carried fiber board and three cars were full of plastic pellets that spilled onto the tracks. The derailment shut down local traffic. Local Haz-Mat crews, state Department of Environmental Quality and Louisiana State Police investigated the derailment.
A Via Rail passenger train struck a derailed Canadian National Railway train August 1, 2014 just east of Gananoque, Ontario (Wall Street Journal and other sources). Six cars of a 120-car CN train had derailed on the main line, one car carrying lube oil and five empty lumber cars. The Via train hit one of the derailed lumber cars, puncturing the Via locomotive’s fuel tank and spilling an undisclosed amount of fuel. One of the 300 Via Rail passengers was injured. Via cancelled all trains August 1 between Toronto and Ottawa and between Toronto and Montreal.
Also on August 1, 16 Canadian National Railway cars carrying grain derailed near Lacombe, Alberta (Global News). One road had to be closed due to the derailment and the main track was closed for at least a day.
Two CN cars carrying lumber fell off the tracks in the Edson CN rail yards July 26, 2014 (Edson Leader). There were two other CN derailments in the same yard during the previous few weeks, with no details available. Jim Feeny, CN Public Affairs spokesperson, said derailments are not uncommon and are often not reported by Canadian National Railway. The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has expressed concern in the past about CN not reporting derailments.
On July 25, 2014, a CN train rammed into a logging truck at an uncontrolled crossing west of Burns Lake, British Columbia, knocking 22 train cars and two locomotives off the track (CTV News). An undisclosed amount of diesel fuel was spilled.
Meanwhile, a family is living in tents near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, claiming that Canadian National Railway ruined their home during the major derailment January 7, 2014 of 19 CN cars and a locomotive (CBC News). Resulting fires burned for four days. About 150 people were forced to evacuate within a 2-kilometre radius of the fires. Five rail cars were loaded with crude oil and four were full of propane. The Levesque family claim the repair work to their home, paid for by CN, has left their house worse than before the repair work due to poor craftsmanship. The Levesques had obtained a quote of about $160,000 to repair the damage due to the derailment, whereas CN offered only $2,500.
See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for additional examples of CN derailments.