Faulty brake suspected in derailment

PLASTER ROCK, N.B. — Investigators were interested in the brake system and a broken axle on a CN freight train carrying crude oil that derailed in northwestern New Brunswick as the railway company said Wednesday a fire that’s been burning since it left the tracks a day earlier was under control.

PLASTER ROCK, N.B. — Investigators were interested in the brake system and a broken axle on a CN freight train carrying crude oil that derailed in northwestern New Brunswick as the railway company said Wednesday a fire that’s been burning since it left the tracks a day earlier was under control.

CN (TSX:CNR) president Claude Mongeau described the fire as a controlled burn that is normal after a derailment involving cars carrying petroleum products.

He said 17 of the train’s 122 cars derailed near Wapske and five of them were carrying crude oil from Western Canada that was destined for an Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, N.B. Four other cars were carrying liquefied petroleum gas.

“We don’t have a lot of information, we are assessing as we speak,” he told a news conference in nearby Plaster Rock. “The impact on the environment, air quality, spill seems to be very contained and hopefully will be manageable.

“The fire is our first priority at the moment. We have the equipment, we have the people and we have all the procedures in place to deal with it in a safe manner.”

Late Wednesday, the company said two of the cars carrying liquefied petroleum gas and one car carrying crude oil were on fire.

Aerial images of the derailment showed a jumble of cars strewn across the tracks in a wooded area with fire and smoke billowing from the wreckage.

New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization said there have been no injuries and the number of people affected by an evacuation has climbed from about 60 to 150 people. The Health Department said as a precaution, people in the area with private wells should not consume their water.

The regularly scheduled freight train ran into trouble about 150 kilometres northwest of Fredericton at about 7 p.m. Tuesday.

CN spokesman Jim Feeny said the only people on board the train — the conductor and engineer — have provided statements, but he wouldn’t reveal what that they said. He added that no one was injured.

The province initially ordered the evacuation of an area within a two-kilometre radius of the fire Tuesday night, but officials said no one was using an evacuation centre set up by the Red Cross as people forced from their homes found places to stay with family and friends.

Feeny said some residents were allowed to temporarily return to the homes Wednesday to briefly check on pets and the condition of their residences. But as of late Wednesday, the fire was still burning and it was unclear how long it would take before it burned itself out, he said.

“On a controlled basis, we and the local authorities are allowing local citizens access to their properties,” he said. “It’s an in and then out kind of thing.”

Rail safety has become a major issue across the country since the deadly derailment in Lac-Megantic, Que., last summer and as a growing amount of fuel oils and crude petroleum is carried by train across the country.

The federal Transportation Safety Board has sent investigators to the scene of the derailment and based on preliminary information from the company and the RCMP, it said the train’s brakes came on unexpectedly.

“The preliminary details that we received indicate that while the train was proceeding it had experienced an undesired brake application,” Daniel Holbrook, manager of head office and western regional operations for the safety board, said from Gatineau, Que. “The train then came to a stop.”

Just Posted

Unemployment rate and EI beneficiaries down in Central Alberta

The unemployment rate for Red Deer region and the number of people… Continue reading

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Women’s marches underway in Canadian cities, a year after Trump inauguration

Women are gathering in dozens of communities across the country today to… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month