Five families forced from their homes by a derailment in West River Station, Pictou County met today with an official from the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway.

Two homeowners are allowed to return home, while the others are still under an evacuation order. 

Shannon Toner, the general manager of the railway told evacuees the rail line will cover all their expenses until they can go back home.

The company says it doesn't know why several cars carrying propane and butane derailed on Monday. The cars remain strewn along the tracks on Lansdowne Road.

The Transportation Safety Board is at the scene investigating.

Gail Sinclair is one of those who was forced from her home with just the clothes on her back.

She says before the derailment she didn't worry about living next to a rail line.

“[You] don’t think about those things. The train went by three or four times a day but now it’s like, is track maintenance up to par? Are they doing all the things they’re supposed to do or maybe this was just a flukey accident. But that’s my home, that’s where I like to live. Whatever happens, happens, I guess,” she said. 

Sinclair was allowed home, briefly, Tuesday to pick up some belongings and to leave food and water out for her cat, Oprah.

The cleanup could take a week to 10 days.

She said she’s given her cat lots of food, “but 10 days is a long time to leave a poor cat home.”

Sinclair says she appreciates the fact the company is promising to pick up the tab for her hotel room and meals but she'd rather be back in her home.

“[I’m] still a little frustrated. This is not my bed. This is not my home. I have things to do at home and I’m not comfortable. The hotel makes us comfortable and, I mean, it’s a lovely place to stay. It’s a lovely place to visit, but I don’t want to live here,” she said.

Muriel Jackson is also staying at the hotel and is pleased with how the company is treating her family.

"They're looking after us," she said.

This is the second train derailment in two weeks in Pictou County. Three rail cars carrying sheets of steel derailed in the downtown area of New Glasgow on May 29. No one was injured.


View Nova Scotia train derailments since 2000 in a larger map