A derailed CN freight car crashed into a passenger Via Rail train near Gananoque, Ont., on Friday afternoon, stopping train service between Toronto and Montreal just ahead of the long weekend. Service is also cancelled between Ottawa and Toronto.

gananoque map

A derailed CN freight car crashed into a Via Rail passenger train east of Gananoque. (CP)

Via Rail said that of 300 passengers, one reported a minor injury. The train had left Ottawa at 12:30 p.m.

Around 2:15 p.m., six cars of an eastbound CN freight train left the track, according to CN director of public affairs Jim Feeny. While it's still early in the investigation, Feeny said it appears one of the empty cars hit and punctured the Via train's fuel tank.

One of the freight cars that derailed contained lube oil but none escaped, Feeny said. The other five cars were empty, he said.

The two CN employees on the train were not injured, he said.

The Via passenger train's cars are still upright but the train has been immobilized by the crash.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

4,100 passengers affected by crash

Via Rail spokesperson Mylène Bélanger said 16 trains were cancelled after the crash, affecting 4,100 passengers. Train service is expected to resume Saturday.

CN derailment gananoque

A Via Rail train was involved in a collision with a derailed CN train near Gananoque, Ont., on Friday, halting train service between Ottawa and Toronto and Toronto and Montreal. (CBC)

Ticket holders were offered the option of taking the bus instead of the train. But as of 8 p.m., Bélanger said the company was still trying to find enough buses and drivers to accommodate all travellers. 

"We've been working very hard to secure buses for affected passengers, and as of now we still have not been able to secure alternate transportation for all our customers. Accordingly, no service will be provided for a few trains tonight (Friday)," Bélanger said.

"Please accept our very sincere apologies for this situation, for any inconveniences caused by this situation, which is beyond its control. We thank our customers for their understanding."

Full refunds will be issued to passengers ticket holders who did not take the bus, she said.

Those ticket holders who did take the bus were offered travel vouchers. 

Train service between Ottawa and Montreal is going ahead as scheduled.

On July 10, a 26-car CN freight train derailed in Brockville, Ont., forcing Via Rail to cancel train service between Toronto and Ottawa for two days. Train service between Toronto and Montreal was cancelled for one-and-a-half days.