Another Canadian National Railway Derailment – The 19th in Alberta in Less Than a Year
Four Canadian National Railway locomotives and 21 cars derailed in the Mitsue Industrial area about 10km east of Slave Lake, Alberta September 16 (CBC News). Three of the derailed cars were carrying dangerous chemicals: two were carrying sodium chloride and one was carrying sulphuric acid. The Slave Lake Fire Department sent four crews including a dangerous goods team and more than a dozen firefighters to the scene.
This is the third reported Canadian National Railway derailment in or near the Town of Slave Lake within the past four months. The other two were:
1. June 11, 2014 near Faust about 60km west of Slave Lake when 20 cars fell off the main track. Seventeen cars were full of dangerous goods residue, two were grain hopper cars and one carried lumber.
2. May 8, 2014 when nine CN cars loaded with wood pulp derailed right in downtown Slave Lake. Some of the cars tipped completely over on their sides and crushed several nearby sheds. Six nearby homes were evacuated.
Yesterday’s derailment is the 19th reported CN derailment in Alberta within the past 11 months. The other 16 include:
1. September 9, 2014 near Cherhill when eight CN cars filled with gravel fell off the tracks, four of them tipping over and spilling their loads.
2. August 31, 2014 near Hondo when 15 cars carrying grain derailed, spilling an undisclosed amount of grain.
3. August 1, 2014 near Lacombe when 16 CN cars carrying grain derailed.
4, 5 & 6. Mid-July, 2014 in the Edson CN rail yards. One of the derailments occurred July 26 when 2 cars carrying lumber fell off the tracks. There were two other CN derailments in the same yard during the previous few weeks with no details.
7. July 12, 2014 when 15 cars derailed north of Three Hills. Most of the cars carried general consumer merchandise, while two contained chemicals for household and industrial use.
8. July 4, 2014 near Whitecourt when six cars flipped over on their sides: three cars carried crude oil and one carried highly volatile methanol. At least one of the tanker cars spilled an undisclosed volume of hazardous product.
9. June 27, 2014 when 11 grain cars derailed near Chisholm, blocking the main tracks and a railroad crossing for about a day.
10. May 30, 2014 north of Lac La Biche when about 50,000 litres of molten sulphur spilled from three of seven derailed CN cars. The spill took several days to clean up and CN’s main line was closed for an undisclosed period of time.
11. March 5, 2014 when two empty grain cars derailed in Beaver County near Edmonton.
12. January 15, 2014 in Edmonton when three moving CN trains collided. Three locomotives, two tanker cars loaded with dangerous goods and one empty flat car fell off the tracks. One of the locomotives spilled an undisclosed volume of diesel fuel.
13. December 27, 2013 when seven cars derailed in the Wainwright CN rail yard. Derailed cars were carrying grain and salt.
14. November 3, 2013 near Peers when 13 CN cars derailed: 12 were loaded with lumber and one carried sulphur dioxide. CN’s main line was shut down while mangled rail cars and spilled broken lumber were cleaned off the tracks.
15. October 19, 2013 when 13 cars derailed in Gainford, causing massive explosions and fires. Nine of the derailed cars were loaded with propane and four were loaded with crude oil. One of the tanker cars carrying propane exploded and three others caught fire. All 100 Gainford residents plus 25 others living within 2km of the explosions were evacuated for four days. Firefighters were unable to deal with the hot fire and were forced to let it burn itself out, which took four days. The main east-west Trans-Continental rail line through western Canada was shut down for five days. The volume of petroleum product spilled and the extent of environmental and property damages were not disclosed.
16. October 16, 2013 in Sexsmith when four CN tanker cars loaded with anhydrous ammonia derailed. About 150 homes were evacuated.
For more details on the above accidents and hundreds of additional CN derailments in Canada and the U.S., see CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents. Canadian National Railway intentionally does not report many of its derailments.
Alberta also had the most reports of runaway trains over the last year (see this link). Of 17 runaway trains reported in Canada to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada between July 2013 and June 2014, six occurred in Alberta.