Some Via train service starts again after CN derailment

Via Rail train service between Toronto and Montreal is back on after Thursday's CN freight train derailment in Brockville, Ont.

Via says service back on Friday evening, earlier than expected

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released this aerial photo of the derailment site in Brockville, Ont. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

Via Rail train service between Toronto and Montreal is back on after Thursday's CN freight train derailment in Brockville, Ont.

A spokesperson told CBC News on Friday morning that train service won't resume until Saturday to complete the restoration of damaged railways and allow the passage of its freight trains, which have been blocked since Thursday.

However, late Friday afternoon Via Rail announced two trains, from Montreal to Toronto and vice versa, would be running on a 30 minute delay starting at 6 p.m.

Those trains, numbers 668 and 669, do not stop in Ottawa. Service from there resumes Saturday morning, according to a tweet from Via Rail.

A CN freight train that derailed on Thursday morning was hauling two loaded automobile carriers. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)
The derailment happened at about 4:10 a.m. ET Thursday on the tracks near 
Lyn Road and Highway 401 in Brockville, about 115 kilometres south of Ottawa.

No one was injured.

Charter buses transported passengers Thursday following the incident.

About 3,600 passengers were affected Thursday alone, including 1,600 people taking the train between Toronto and Ottawa, and another 2,000 between Toronto and Montreal. They will get a 50 per cent off voucher, Via said.

26 cars derailed

About 26 cars of the 68-car eastbound train left the track. The derailed cars include:

  • Two loaded automobile carriers.
  • Five cars carrying carbon powder.
  • 13 unloaded fuel tank cars. 

The fuel tank cars, though empty, contain a fuel residue. CN said Thursday there were no leaks or exposures.

Customers waiting for the 7:30 a.m. train from the Ottawa train station to Toronto on Thursday were told there would be a 30-minute delay to board buses.

"It's definitely a glitch in our day but I'm just happy that it didn't happen when we were on the train," said passenger Kristen Ward, who along with her family may miss their connection to Chatham, Ont.

Residents thankful it wasn't worse

The experience stirred memories of the Lac-Mégantic derailment just over a year ago, when a train carrying crude oil derailed in the small Quebec community, killing 47 people.

"It is a big concern … it could have been a disaster in our city," said Lily Lynch, who works at a restaurant three kilometres from the crash site, on Thursday.

"When the building starts to shake you start to wonder what's on that train."

CN said safety is its top priority.

"We have a very comprehensive safety management system in place that includes very thorough inspections of our track infrastructure as well as rail cars," said spokeswoman Lindsay Fedchyshyn.

"We work very closely with local response agencies, fire departments whose communities we run through."


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