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Runaway train in Goderich, Ont., leaves significant damage

Provincial police said Goderich Fire and the Huron County Paramedic Service responded to the derailment Monday afternoon.

No injuries were reported, police said

Emergency crews responded to the derailment Monday afternoon. (Terry Saxby)

No one was hurt after a train derailed in Goderich, Ont., Monday afternoon, leaving significant damage in its path.  

Huron County OPP said Goderich Fire and the Huron County Paramedic Service responded to the derailment at about 1:30 p.m. at the Goderich Harbour, near the grain elevators. 

The incident involved the Goderich-Exeter Railway (GEXR), a freight railway that runs from Goderich to Stratford, Ont.

"Essentially the train was leaving town and was going up an incline and at some point it ended up going back toward the grain elevators and gathered a tremendous amount of speed and collided with a transport truck," said OPP Const. Jamie Stanley, adding that the driver of the truck was not in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

Stanley said as the train cars approached the harbour they hit a pickup truck that was in the area. Two seniors were in the truck but, Stanley said, they spotted the train and were able to move the vehicle and avoid a harder hit.

The train demolished a shed along its path. (Terry Saxby)

Eventually, the train hit and demolished a shed in its path.

"It was a very active accident site," said Terry Saxby, a local wildlife photographer who regularly visits the waterfront and was at the scene.

"It's sad in many ways because we've had a lot of problems in enjoying our waterfront lately. There's been damage because of the storms, it's been roped off because of construction and here's another thing that's going to get in the way of us enjoying it." 

While crews are still cleaning up the area, Stanley said the freight train was carrying grains and nothing flammable or hazardous that could have made the incident worse. 

"There was a significant path of destruction, but fortunately there were no injuries involved," he added. 

Harbour Street is temporarily closed, but police anticipate it will reopen by Tuesday morning.  

Local photographer Terry Saxby said about a dozen fire staff were on scene along with paramedics and about a half dozen police. (Terry Saxby)

Police said an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the derailment.

A spokesperson for Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc., owners of the railway, said GEXR is assisting local and federal authorities. 

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada told CBC News they will not be sending a team to the site to investigate. Instead, the agency will be gathering information remotely from the rail company and those on scene. A spokesperson said they'll determine next steps once they have more information. 

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