‘You can smell crude in the air’: Train carrying oil derails near western Manitoba village

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CN Rail is working to clean up an oil leak after nearly 40 train cars carrying crude oil derailed near a village in western Manitoba early Saturday morning.

CN crews are responding to the derailment, which occurred at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning near St. Lazare, about 300 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, a spokesperson from the railway said. 

« You can smell crude in the air. That’s really concerning, » said rancher Jayme Corr. The derailment happened on his property, about 10 kilometres south of St. Lazare, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie.

« There’s oil leaking, and where they’re sitting is [near] a water lagoon, » he said.

The derailment happened around 3:30 a.m. Saturday. As of Saturday afternoon, crews were still on scene. (Riley Laychuk/CBC )

Emergency personnel woke Corr up around 5 a.m. Saturday to alert him to the derailment, which happened just under two kilometres from his home.

No injuries or fires reported

Initial reports are that approximately 37 crude oil cars have derailed and that there is a partial leak of crude oil, Jonathan Abecassis, a media relations director for CN, wrote in an email to CBC.

« A perimeter has been set up around the area to facilitate site access. There are no reports of injuries or fires, » he wrote.

« CN crews will be conducting a full site assessment to determine how much product has spilled and exactly how many cars are involved. First responders are on location. »

CN’s environmental team has started cleaning up the area.

Corr said his cattle have since been moved away from the area, but he’s concerned that his main water source for the summertime will now be contaminated.

The train derailed about 10 kilometres south of St. Lazare, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

The rancher says he thinks a derailment like Saturday’s has been a long time coming.

« It seems to be the trains go faster, they’re longer, heavier, and the maintenance is getting less and less, » Corr said.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent investigators to the site of the derailment. 

‘It’s discouraging’

Jean-Paul Chartier, a rural municipality of Ellice-Archie councillor, said staff from the local fire department are on the scene of the derailment, assisting CN crews.

« They’re trying to do their best to get everything contained, and trying to get the traffic going, and trying to clear whatever debris there is, » Chartier said.

Trains frequently run through St. Lazare, and Chartier said he’s thankful the crash didn’t occur closer to the community. In areas of the village, there are houses just hundreds of metres from the tracks, and 30 to 40 trains can travel past each day, he said.

« Every time they come through, you think of the tragedy that happened in Quebec, » he said, referring to the Lac-Mégantic, Que., rail disaster, which killed 47 people after a freight train loaded with fuel exploded.

« It’s discouraging. Like you look at it everyday and you say ‘hopefully it’s not today and hopefully it doesn’t ever happen.’ But you’ve always got it in the back of your mind. »

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TSB to share updates on B.C. train derailment at Tuesday news conference

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The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) will release more details about a deadly train derailment in B.C. at a Tuesday morning news conference.

The conference, which will be held in Calgary at 11 a.m. MT, will be live streamed on GlobalNews.ca.


READ MORE:
3 Calgary men killed in CP Railway train derailment near Field, B.C. identified

The crash on Monday near the Alberta-B.C. border killed the train’s three-person crew, including Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. All three men were from Calgary.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) freight train was heading west when it went off the tracks, plunging into the Kicking Horse River just east of Field, B.C., at about 1 a.m. MT.

WATCH: Aerial footage shows the extent of the damage after a fatal train derailment near Field, B.C.






According to CP Rail president and CEO Keith Creel, the derailment happened between the Upper and Lower Spiral Tunnels, which were built in the early 1900s to accommodate the steep grade change on the stretch of railway.

“This is a tragedy that will have a long-lasting impact on our family of railroaders,” Creel said.

He added that recovery of the derailed cars will be “complex and challenging given the remote location and extreme weather.”

WATCH: Several damaged train cars lay beside the highway near Field, B.C., after a fatal train derailment






The circumstances that led to the derailment are being investigated by the TSB.

Sixteen cars of a CP Rail train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area. No one was injured in that derailment.

— With files from 

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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3 crew members killed in CP train derailment near Field, B.C.

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Three Canadian Pacific Railway crew members were killed early Monday in a train derailment east of Field, B.C.

The westbound freight train went off the tracks at about 1 a.m. MT, CP said in a release. The fatally injured crew members were on board the train at the time. 

A union representative said the train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary.

Greg Edwards with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) said the workers had just taken over the train when it happened. 

The freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary. (CBC)

He says two of them were found near the locomotive, which landed in the Kicking Horse River, and the other was still inside.

The three victims are believed to be a locomotive engineer, a conductor, and a conductor trainee based out of Calgary.

British Columbia’s Environment Ministry confirmed between 30 and 40 grain cars went off the tracks and there was no immediate word of fuel or other contaminants entering the water. 

CP said there was no threat to public safety and there were no dangerous goods involved.

« Our condolences and prayers go out to their families, friends and colleagues, » the Calgary-based company said.

« A full investigation will take place to determine the cause of this incident. »

Previous derailment, same area

Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigators were headed to the site of the incident on Monday morning, the agency said in a release.

Eric Collard, a TSB spokesperson, said the site is remote, with access only possible by rail. « So you can’t get to it by road. »

The safety board has not yet released any further information.

« Our hearts and our deepest condolences go out to the victims’ loved ones and co-workers, » François Laporte, president of Teamsters Canada, said in a release. « Our union and its 125,000 members stand with them in mourning, »

Field is about 80 kilometres west of Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway.

The train derailed near the mountainous border with Alberta. (CBC)

Sixteen cars of a CP train derailed on Jan. 3 in the same area, which is near the Upper Spiral Tunnels, close to Cathedral Mountain, between Field and Lake Louise, Alta.

No one was hurt in that derailment.

Teamsters Canada says eight railway workers have died in accidents in Canada since November 2017.

« Today, our focus is on this accident as well as the victims’ friends and families. But moving forward, the government and the rail industry will have to recognize that something is wrong and change is needed. Eight workplace fatalities in a little over a year is not something that should be expected or accepted, » Lyndon Isaak, president of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), said in a release.

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Broken-down train causes major morning delays on Kitchener GO line

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A broken-down train on the Kitchener GO line caused major delays and serious headaches for commuters on Monday morning.

Metrolinx said a train broke down just west of the Acton GO station at around 6:30 a.m.


READ MORE:
Frigid weather creating operational delays for TTC, GO Transit, UP Express

It’s an area where GO trains only operate on one track.

The most significant delays were felt west of the incident in areas around Guelph and Kitchener.

The Malton 8:33 a.m. train was cancelled and the Georgetown 7:14 a.m. train had only six cars.

Metrolinx said delays were starting to ease at around 8 a.m.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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GO Transit bringing back afternoon express train to Kitchener – Kitchener

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GO Transit announced Monday that it is bringing back the 4:50 p.m. express train from Toronto to Kitchener.

The train will return on Feb. 13.

READ MOPRE:  Metrolinx, province promise solution to overcrowded GO trains between Toronto and Kitchener

“Our customers are telling us the 4:50 p.m. express service is crucial for our customers,” Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster explained.

More to follow…

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Mother of two happy to be alive after coming within seconds of being hit by train

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An Île-Perrot mother says she and her four-year-old daughter are grateful to be alive after coming within seconds of being struck by a freight train.

Amanda Collins was on her way to pick her son up from school when she drove over a snow-covered railway crossing.

She drove over the first set of tracks, then skidded and came to a stop in the deep snow, right on top of the second set of tracks.

« I reversed and went forward repeatedly, » Collins said. « I heard the train honking at me like crazy, and I looked over, and I could see it coming at me. »

She and her daughter escaped from the car just before it was struck by the Canadian National freight train.

« [My daughter] was screaming ‘No, mommy, no!’ when it hit the car, and I’ve never seen her react so emotionally to anything like that before, » Collins said.

Amanda Collins, who recently moved back to Quebec from B.C., says she is grateful she and her daughter escaped with their lives after her car got stuck in snow-covered rail tracks just as a freight train bore down on them Wednesday. (CBC)

Canadian National says its trains were rolling slower than usual because of bad weather, and that it’s still investigating the incident.

The City of Île-Perrot is responsible for keeping the tracks clear, and it says a snow plow cleared the roads between 2 and 3 p.m. — just before Collins drove over the tracks.

‘It could have been so different’

Her car is a write-off, and Collins doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to replace it.

Collins, a single mother of two, recently moved back to her native Quebec from British Columbia to find work and because of the cheaper cost of living.

Having a car is crucial for her, she says, and she isn’t used to relying on other people to get around.

Some of her friends have started an online fundraiser to help Collins replace her vehicle.

She says for now, she is just happy she and her daughter are alive.

« It could have been so different, » Collins said. « I could have been waking up in a hospital room. It was really close. »

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TSB urges better communication after Via Rail train derailment in Saskatchewan

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The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is urging authorities to communicate better after a Via Rail train derailment in eastern Saskatchewan last summer.

Two crew members sustained minor injuries in the crash, which happened early on July 5, 2018, north of Hudson Bay.


READ MORE:
Highway 11 north of Saskatoon reopens to traffic at site of train derailment

The TSB said in a report that more than 100 millimetres of rain fell over the four days leading up to the derailment.

Engineering staff with Canadian National Railway, which operates Via tracks, found culverts were diverting water as they should the evening before.

Part of Highway 9 to the west was washed out at the time, but there were no protocols for Saskatchewan’s transport ministry and the railway to share information.

The board said with the highway breached, the excess water flowed overland and flooded the railway, causing the track to lose support.


READ MORE:
TSB unable to determine cause of fatal crop-dusting plane crash near Arborfield, Sask.

“In locations where railway and road authority infrastructure shares a common drainage basin, it is critical that the authorities have communication protocols in place for the sharing of information relating to the protection of the infrastructure,” the report released Thursday says.

The board noted safety improvements CN made since the derailment, such as a warnings when heavy rain may lead to flooding in a specific area and increasing patrols.

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In 2013, 6 were killed when an Ottawa double-decker bus hit a train. Distraction was one cause

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A double-decker bus operated by Ottawa’s OC Transpo crashed into a bus shelter Friday, leaving three people dead and 23 hurt.

The incident happened just over five years after another deadly accident involving a double-decker bus, which took place in the Ottawa suburb of Barrhaven.

WATCH: 23 people injured, 3 dead following fatal Ottawa bus crash: mayor






It was 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2013 when OC Transpo bus number 8017 pulled into the Fallowfield Bus Station on express route 76.

The bus was heading to downtown Ottawa on the Transitway, a private roadway that’s been set aside for commuter buses, said a report by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB).

WATCH: Sept. 24, 2014 — TSB said speed, distraction factors in Ottawa bus crash






Along the Transitway was a left-hand curve that led to Woodroffe Avenue, where the roadways ran parallel and a railway crossed them both.

At the bus’ wheel, the driver would have been faced with all the usual controls and a few additional pieces of technology — like a video monitor screen measuring six inches by four inches.

This monitor showed feeds from four different cameras on the bus: one showed the upper deck, and any OC Transpo driver was supposed to look at it at bus stops and while the vehicle was in service.

READ MORE: TSB — Multiple factors caused fatal Ottawa bus-train accident, including driver distractions

While the bus was stopped at Fallowfield, neither the driver nor his 95 passengers knew that flashing lights, bells and gates had activated along the railway some distance ahead to signal a train was coming.

The bus pulled out of the station 10 seconds after those signals were triggered — and four minutes behind schedule.

As the bus pulled out, one passenger was standing near the top of the double-decker’s stairs and would have been visible on the driver’s monitor screen.

No passenger was supposed to be standing on the top deck — and it was the driver’s job to look at the screen and remind them.

WATCH: Debris lines transitway in Ottawa after fatal bus crash






As the bus approached the left-hand curve on the Transitway, the driver would have heard passengers talking about seating that was available on the deck above them.

The driver looked up toward the monitor at this time.

Along the railway, Via Rail passenger train number 51 was about to cross Woodroffe Avenue and the Transitway en route to Toronto.

Warnings had been activated for more than 30 seconds.

READ MORE: Photos and videos from devastating Ottawa bus crash

Inside the bus, however, no one would have been able to hear the bells — and with the gates and flashing lights hidden by trees, foliage, signage and the bus’ front pillars, the driver wouldn’t have been able to see that a train was coming.

The bus was travelling at 67.6 km/h — 7.6 km/h above the speed limit.

Suddenly, passengers noticed the train and yelled out at the driver to stop and look out.

The driver then hit the brakes smoothly — as he had been trained to do — and that lengthened the bus’ stopping distance.

The bus in which six people died is towed away from the site of the fatal bus and train crash in Ottawa, Thursday, September 19, 2013. Six people died in the crash between a Via Rail train and a city bus on Wednesday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand .

The bus hit the train after its speed had slowed to 7.7 km/h.

The collision killed the driver and five passengers, hurt nine others seriously and left 25 passengers with minor injuries. No one was hurt on the train.

The double-decker might have avoided the collision had it stopped just 0.4 metres sooner.

TSB investigators blamed the crash on a number of factors, none were driver error.

“Given the circumstances, this accident could have happened to just about any driver,” TSB lead investigator Rob Johnston said in 2015, when the board’s report was released.

Visual distraction was one factor identified in the crash.

Drivers are expected to inspect the video monitor when their buses reach stops, and when they’re in service.

Drivers, the TSB determined, would need to “periodically glance at the screen” while the bus was moving in order to monitor passengers standing on the upper deck.

READ MORE: Bus in deadly Ottawa train crash was ‘over the speed limit,’ says TSB

“Research has determined that a driver’s glances away from the forward visual scene, especially glances lasting two seconds or longer, are significantly associated with accidents and near accidents,” the report said.

Cognitive distraction was another factor.

The driver had spoken with at least one more passenger about sitting on the bus’ upper deck before the vehicle left Fallowfield station, the report said.

And as the bus travelled, the driver would have heard passengers discuss seating.

WATCH: Sept. 24, 2014 — City of Ottawa responds to TSB report on fatal bus/train crash






“This combination of factors, along with the perceived need to make a no-standing-on-upper-deck announcement, created a situation where the driver was likely cognitively distracted in the seconds prior to the accident,” the report said.

The TSB recommended “comprehensive guidelines” for the use of in-vehicle video monitoring displays to lower the risk of driver distraction.

WATCH: Sept. 18, 2014 — Survivor remembers fatal Ottawa bus crash one year later






Distraction wasn’t the only factor in this crash, however.

Also blamed were the driver’s obstructed view, grade separation on the road and the bus’ “crashworthiness” — it was lacking a front bumper and its front end wasn’t designed to protect against the impact of a collision.

The Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, it turned out, had “no requirements for frontal impact, side impact, rollover, or crush protection” for buses in this category.

“Although not required by regulation, a more robust front structure and crash energy management design might have reduced the damage to the bus and prevented the loss of a protective shell for the occupants,” the report said.

  • With files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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CP Holiday Train rolls into Calgary in support of local food banks – Calgary

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With bright, flashing lights piercing the night, the Canadian Pacific (CP) Holiday Train made a stop in Calgary on Saturday.

Thousands took in a free show by musicians Terri Clark, Kelly Prescott and Sierra Noble after the train stopped at Anderson CTrain Station.

On its journey across North America, the CP Holiday Train features musical performances and collects donations for local food banks. The train presented the Calgary Food Bank with a cheque for $15,000 on Saturday.

Now in its 20th year, the holiday rail journey has raised more than $14.5 million and gathered 4.3 million pounds of food for communities along routes in Canada and the United States, organizers said.

WATCH (Dec. 9, 2017): Mallory McCredie and Shawna Ogston joined Global Calgary to talk about the CP Holiday Train, which helps raise money for local food banks.






© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Toronto zoo board considering company’s pitch to build ‘maglev’ floating train

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Toronto Zoo’s defunct passenger-bashing monorail could whir back to life as a high-tech “people mover” with visitors peering at animals while magnetically levitating over the old track.

The zoo board on Thursday will consider anew a 2016 proposal by Edmonton-based Magnovate Technologies to build, at no cost to the taxpayers, a $25-million driverless ride ferrying people around the zoo in cars floating above the monorail “guideway,” pushed by electromagnets.

Magnovate Technologies is proposing to build a "maglev" train which would float above the old monorail tracks at the Toronto zoo.
Magnovate Technologies is proposing to build a « maglev » train which would float above the old monorail tracks at the Toronto zoo.  (Artist’s rendering / Magnovate Technologies)

Magnovate says approval to proceed would let it seek a mix of government and private investment to prove its technology is better and cheaper to build than “maglev” systems long used in parts of China and Japan and now proposed for a northeast U.S. commuter line.

Most projects percolating internationally, for a technology that hasn’t yet fulfilled its space-age promise but is gaining ground in Asia, focus on speed. Backers of the U.S. proposal say travellers could blast from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. in only 15 minutes.

But the Toronto zoo proposal would glide visitors past animal enclosures at a sedate 10 km/h, accelerating to no more than 30 km/h between five stops.

In its pitch to the zoo board, Magnovate says the ride itself would become a magnet for visitors “desirous of riding the first commercial maglev transit system on our continent.” Tickets could cost between $12 and $15 per ride. Magnovate and the zoo would split revenues under a 15-year agreement.

Zoo staff are recommending the board give the proposal a green light.

“It would be an enhancement from a guest experience” says Jennifer Tracey, the zoo’s senior director of marketing, communications and partnerships.

“Also it would run year-round and be climate-controlled where the current (open-air trackless trolley) Zoomobile runs from May to October and in May and October only on weekends.”

Dan Corns, Magnovate chief executive, says a previous funding pitch for the zoo project was well-received by Sustainable Development Technology Canada but a new application with a firm expression of interest from the zoo board will have a better shot.

The project would show investors and potential clients that Magnovate technology, with cars carrying 10 to 15 passengers running independently or in clusters, darting into a station on demand while the rest of the cluster keeps moving, is viable for bigger urban commuter uses, says Corns.

The vehicles and track would be less heavy than those with traditional connected maglev trains, he said, and costs can be kept down at the zoo because the monorail track can be adapted.

Proponents are hoping the new system, if built, will have a happier run than the Toronto Zoo monorail which ran from 1976 to 1994 and cost $14 million to build.

While lauded as a futuristic way to comfortably view otherwise inaccessible parts of park, the “Domain Ride” had a 1991 crash between trains that injured nine people.

Three years later a train leaving a station lost power on a steep hill and rolled backward into another train, sending 37 people to hospital with various injuries.

“It was like warp speed backwards,” the 22-year-old train operator told the Star at the time. It never reopened.

Magnovate has assured the zoo board that its maglev technology is safe.

David Rider is the Star’s City Hall bureau chief and a reporter covering Toronto politics. Follow him on Twitter: @dmrider

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