18 train cars derail west of McBride

By Andru McCracken

CN Rail had another derailment between Dome Creek and Crescent Spur, sending some 18 coal cars and a diesel locomotive off the track, with some cars landing very close to Ptarmigan Creek. The derailment stopped all train traffic for the rest of the day and part of the next. 

CN Rail’s Jonathan Abecassis confirmed 18 rail cars derailed Oct. 21st near McBride, BC. The track reopened about 5 p.m. October 22.

The company deployed a boom across Ptarmigan Creek in order to catch any diesel or coal which could have leaked as they put the locomotive back on the rails. The site is 200 meters upstream of a residential water intake. 

“There was no danger to public safety with no injuries, no dangerous goods involved and no coal was spilled into the river,” Abecassis said. 

“Safety is a core value at CN and the boom was deployed as a precautionary measure should any coal spill from a car as it was being moved or should any diesel from the locomotive leak while it was being re-railed.”

He said the cause of the incident is under investigation.

Page Norton said this happened in front of his brother’s house on a salmon-bearing stream, a stream he and his brother grew up fishing on.

“Thank god it is coal and it appears that CN is working hard to clean it up but if it had been some form of liquid this would be a huge disaster,” he said. “Think about where the rail runs in B.C. and how close it generally is to major river systems before you knock pipelines.”

Norton wasn’t proposing a pipeline through the area.

“I can’t say I’d want one running through my property, but until, as a world we move away from fossil fuels, they will be moved one way or another.”

The Transportation Safety Board said they were aware of the derailment but didn’t deploy to the scene.

“We’re aware it happened and CN is responding, we will assess and see what the next steps will be,” said Chris Krepski, Spokesperson Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

A boom was deployed as a precautionary measure, CN said.
Loaded coal cars left the tracks close to the creek

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