Rail Yard Operation Photos

Watch this site for regular photo updates of operation of the Cando/CN/Imperial Oil rail yard.

Click on each photo to get a closer look.

Wildlife habitat on the Bretona ConservAction Area burned by a wildfire caused by CN, May 17, 2011. Note the rail yard about 100 metres from the fire site. Had the fire started in or moved into this rail yard built in 2010 by Cando Contracting Ltd., Imperial Oil and CN, it could have been disastrous because of the flammable tank cars and leaked oil, grease and solvents in the rail yard:

Fire damage to the Bretona ConservAction Area. In 2010, Cando Contracting, Imperial Oil and CN built an industrial rail yard only 30 metres from this wildlife conservation area. This rail yard has already negatively impacted the conservation area through altered drainage patterns, and is an “accident waiting to happen”:

More wildlife habitat destroyed by the May 17, 2011 CN wildfire:

Strathcona County firefighters getting the CN wildfire under control:

Old railway ties discarded by CN and left by the tracks are a major fire hazard, and may well have been a major factor in this particular wildfire:

Many young trees were scorched and killed by the CN fire:

Had it not been for the quick arrival of the Strathcona Fire Department, this fire could have done significantly more damage, considering the high winds on May 17, 2011:

More fire damage:

Long fire hoses helped extinguish the flames:

We told Alberta Environment and Environment Canada that Cando Contracting Ltd. and CN would alter the drainage pattern in our community with the building of their rail yard. We even pleaded that a proper Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) be conducted, especially because the rail yard is next to 2 wildlife conservation areas, but both governments declined to order an EIA. Now (April 25, 2011) that the snow is melting, it is obvious that the local drainage pattern has been totally altered. Meltwater has backed up onto the adjacent farmer’s land, and has nowhere to flow because rail yard construction has filled in the previous lowland that permitted water to flow naturally both north and south:

This lake, formed by meltwater, has nowhere to drain. Before rail yard construction, meltwater in this particular location would drain into Mill Creek and then into the North Saskatchewan River; however, rail yard construction has blocked drainage into Mill Creek:

The farmer who owns this land will not be able to farm this land for some time, if at all, because of flooding caused by rail yard construction. This meltwater pond is several acres in size and contains hundreds of thousands of gallons of water:

The day before this photo was taken, floodwaters flowed right over these rail yard storage tracks:

Meltwater has flooded this adjacent farm yard because rail yard construction has seriously altered natural drainage patterns:

Floodwaters caused by Cando Contracting Ltd’s and CN’s rail yard construction have flooded this trail on the adjacent Bretona ConservAction Area:

Cando Contracting Ltd. and CN have left a mess after completion of rail yard construction. At least in the winter the snow covered the mess, but in the Spring the ugly mess revealed itself again:

More mess left behind by Cando Contracting Ltd. and CN:

CN and Cando Contracting Ltd. left this mess right by the Bretona ConservAction Area….really aesthetic:

Throughout the winter, Cando Contracting moved petroleum tank cars in and out of the rail yard all hours of the day and night, often waking us up:

CN assured us that this rail yard is not for their use, rather it is a private Cando Contracting Ltd. rail yard for storing Imperial Oil tank cars. The fact is CN has used this new rail yard and siding many times already to store their freight cars and to change loads. CN has consistently provided us with false information since construction of the rail yard started June 2010:

As CN moves its freight cars in and out of the rail yard and siding all hours of the day and night, they are very noisy, including locomotives which will idle for hours:

Rail yards are well known to attract graffiti which adds to the overall unsightliness. Does this particular graffiti message link someone’s health to hazards at Imperial Oil which owns these tank cars?: 

The rail yard is built less than the permissible distance from neighbouring landowners. This fence is the neighbouring landowner’s property line:

Unfortunately, the rail yard is now the most prominent feature in our neighbourhood. The Bretona Community was agricultural, conservation and recreation land….now it is industrial, without any formal land use changes by our local, provincial or federal governments:

The noise continued as they bored holes for the fence which was built in an attempt to keep vandals out:

This is the view from our acreage about 30m from the rail yard:

This photo shows how close to the road these tank cars are parked. This will interfere with the sight line of motorists traveling east on Township Road 515:

Tank cars are stored as far as the eye can see:

As the days passed, they brought in more and more tank cars:

This is the view the closest neighbour to the rail yard now has from their house which is only 68m from the rail yard property. This is 232m closer than the minimum distance (300m) between rail yards and homes outlined by CN’s own proximity policy and by the joint Railway Association of Canada/Federation of Canadian Municipalities:

It is noisy when these tank cars are brought to the yard. The loud clanging at each knuckle coupling between cars and the steady rumble of the slow-moving and idling locomotive are disruptive to local residents. During both construction and now that the rail yard is operational, regular CN rail traffic along the mainline slows down which significantly increases the  noise level and the duration of noise that residents used to endure before the rail yard was built:

The first petroleum tank cars were moved to the newly-constructed rail yard on November 5, 2010. At first, there were just a few dozen cars brought in, but this quickly changed. In this photo you can see how close to the public road rail cars will be parked on the 10 yard tracks. (This photo is taken from Township Road 515.) The photo also shows how much fill material was brought in to fill in this previous lowland which will undoubtedly affect the local drainage:

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