Via trains cancelled after CN freight train derails in Brockville

Via Rail trains running between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal have been cancelled through Friday morning after a 26-car CN freight train derailed in Brockville, Ont.

Via Rail trains replaced with buses along main route between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal

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

Via Rail trains running between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal have been cancelled through Friday morning after a 26-car CN freight train derailed in Brockville, Ont.

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, according to the fire department. That's about 115 kilometres south of Ottawa.

There were no injuries, the fire department said.

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 says it has so far been told there are no leaks or exposures.

On its website, Via Rail said there would be "alternate transportation" for 1,600 people taking the train between Toronto and Ottawa, as well as another 2,000 between Toronto and Montreal. Those people will get a 50 per cent off voucher.

Late Thursday afternoon, Via Rail tweeted morning trains 41, 43, 50, 51, 61 would also be replaced by buses.

Via service between Ottawa and Montreal is unaffected by the derailment.

Customers waiting for the 7:30 a.m. train from the Ottawa train station to Toronto 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.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada deployed a team of investigators to the derailment site and they arrived late Thursday morning.

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.

"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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