After a tense 33 hours, CN officials no doubt breathed a sigh of relief as cars once again passed through Tete-Jaune Tuesday morning.
The wreck blocked east-west rail traffic on Canadian National’s northern line, for over a day, after 33 cars derailed 10 km west of Tete-Jaune Cache near Water Tower Hill.
At far as derailments are concerned, it was lucky. The Prince Rupert-bound train loaded with 113 cars of coal, was rounding a bend flanked by the Fraser River when the cars derailed and slid onto the higher bank Sunday night. Coal spilled on the ground and into the river.
It is reported that Environment Canada officials have been onsite and confirmed the spilled coal poses no lasting threat to the ecosystem as it is cleaned up.
As of press time Tuesday, three dozen crew members were still at work cutting up the old train cars. The cause of the derailment was still unknown.
It could have been any number of rails defects including those that are weather-related, said one veteran employee of CN who was on-site on Monday. The last major derailment on that stretch of track occurred several years ago.
CN spokesperson Kelli Svendsen says the train had set out from a coal mine and was westbound en route to Prince Rupert. The corporation reported no injuries due to the wreck. Crews would likely be working for several more weeks to fully clean up the mess and remove all the debris.
It costs the company millions of dollars for each day a track is out of commission.
Stranded Via Rail passengers at the McBride train station were picked up by a chartered bus early Monday to take them to Jasper, where trains were still running.
Once largely a company that serviced Canada, CN Rail now spans 16 U.S. states and eight provinces and has acquired $8 billion in rail acquisitions in the past 15 years.
The company is worth $30 billion up from $2.2 billion when it was privatized in 1995. For the past 15 years, total returns to shareholders, including dividends, have been roughly 21 per cent annually.