CN locomotive derails in GTA yard, spilling powdered acid

A derailment at a rail yard operated by CN north of Toronto lead to a chemical spill late Friday night, the Transportation Safety Board has confirmed to CBC News.

Terephthalic acid was in powdered form and posed no danger to the public, TSB says

The TSB says a locomotive derailed and hit seven hoppers from the side, spilling a mild powdered acid in the MacMillan Yard in Vaughan. (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg) (Brent Lewin/Bloomberg)

A derailment at a rail yard operated by CN north of Toronto lead to a chemical spill Friday evening,  the Transportation Safety Board has confirmed to CBC News. 

At around 11:30 p.m. ET, a locomotive derailed and "sideswiped" seven hopper cars — which typically transport bulk solid goods — at the MacMillan Yard in Vaughan, about 45 minutes north of Toronto. 

The impact resulted in a spill of a powdered form of terephthalic acid, a compound used in the manufacturing of plastics. It is not regulated under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, said Chris Krepski, spokesman for the TSB.

CN contacted the TSB to report the spill, but since it was contained within the yard, was relatively easily contained because it was powder and not liquid, and posed no danger to the public, the cleanup effort has been left to CN. 

The TSB will not be investigating the derailment and subsequent spill, Krepski confirmed. 

In an email statement to CBC Toronto, CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said there were no injuries or other safety concerns and the yard is functioning as normal. 

"CN crews this afternoon are completing the removal of the spilled powder. The circumstances of the incident remain under investigation," Abecassis added.

Friday's incident was not the first to occur at the MacMillan Yard in recent years. In June last year, CBC News reported that 74 railcars rolled five kilometres outside of the yard before they were stopped. One of the cars was carrying dangerous goods.