CP train derailment near Swift Current, Sask., blamed on plow wind

A Canadian Pacific Railway train derailed near Waldeck Sask., on Thursday night amid severe thunderstorms and strong winds.

33 rail cars carrying unknown freight forced off tracks

Video of toppled rail cars were published to Facebook Thursday. 0:34

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  • Winds reached 120 km/h in area of derailment
  • Cleanup underway, may cause traffic congestion

A train derailment near Waldeck, Sask., on Thursday night is being blamed on strong winds associated with a severe thunderstorm. Both CP Rail and Environment Canada said a plow wind was to blame.

Thirty-three rail cars left the track around 7:30 p.m. CST, east of Waldeck, a town about 200 kilometres west of Regina, said CP spokeswoman Salem Woodrow. 

Woodrow did not know what freight the train was carrying, but said there were no injuries, no leaks and no evacuations reported.

Friday morning, Woodrow confirmed suspicions that the train had been pushed off the tracks by extremely strong winds, connected with a storm rolling through the area.

Environment Canada meteorologist Rob Paola said there were some strong thunderstorms in the area at the time.

A long line of rail cars were toppled in a storm Thursday night in the Waldeck area, 200 kilometres west of Regina. (Sarah Merrett/Facebook)

"It's the nature of these thunderstorms, they could produce some very localized, very strong wind gusts," Paola said.

Plow winds are strong, sudden downdrafts of cool air that rapidly spread outward ahead of a thunderstorm or squall line, according to the weather agency.

On Friday morning, Environment Canada said gusts as strong as 120 km/h had been recorded in the Swift Current area.

"The cars were oriented east-west and double-stacked, which would have given them a high profile and the wind gusts coming out of the storm would have been from the north," Paola explained.

An ominous sky above the highway in the Morse area, near Waldeck, where the train derailed. (Submitted to CBC)

Mounties said the tracks run alongside the Trans-Canada Highway, but no cars or debris from the derailment were on the road.

An officer said traffic will eventually be reduced to one lane so CPR can get in equipment to clean up the derailment.

It's the third time a CPR freight train has derailed in southern Saskatchewan in six weeks.

On Aug. 11, a train collided with a tractor-trailer west of Caron on Monday afternoon, sending 21 empty cars and two locomotives off the tracks.

Twenty-four cars carrying asphalt, lumber and contained gasoline went off the tracks near Caron on July 16. There were no leaks, and no injuries or evacuations.

With files from CBC News

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