Manitoba

'Everything is going all over the place': Passenger recounts Via train derailment near Gladstone, Man.

A passenger train with 12 people on board went off the rails in southern Manitoba before dawn Tuesday. RCMP say there were injuries, but none appear serious.

RCMP say no serious injuries to passengers or crew

The derailed Via Rail passenger train lies on a field south of Gladstone, Man., on Tuesday morning. (RCMP/Twitter)

A Via Rail passenger train went off the rails in southern Manitoba before dawn Tuesday, RCMP say.

There were seven passengers and five crew members on the train and there are injuries, Transportation Safety Board officials said. People are being assessed but it appears none of the injuries were serious, RCMP said.

The passengers are currently being taken to either Portage la Prairie or Winnipeg by bus, Via Rail says.

The train was travelling south of Gladstone, Man., near Provincial Road 350 and Road 73 N. when it derailed around 6:45 a.m., RCMP said. Gladstone is about 135 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

"Everything is going all over the place, and it's up and down and all around; you're not sure what's going on," said Penny Flock, who boarded the train at Canora, Sask., headed for Winnipeg.

Flock said the train was already 16 hours late arriving to her stop.

Several hours into her trip, she said she felt a sudden jolt, likening it to turbulence on an airplane.

Seat cushion covers, stools and other items were strewn about before the train came to a stop and the power went out, she said. 

"I couldn't find my shoes," said Flock. 

A worker stands atop one of the derailed train cars as crews work to clean up the derailment. (RIley Laychuk/CBC)

Via Rail confirmed to CBC News that train 692 derailed "due to an unexpected incident" near the area.

The train was travelling the Hudson Bay line from Churchill to Winnipeg at nearly 100 km/h, Transportation Safety Board officials said.

The train was travelling between Gladstone and Portage la Prairie when it suddenly derailed. (CBC)

The cause of the incident is under investigation; the Transportation Safety Board dispatched an investigator, who was expected to arrive at the derailment on Tuesday afternoon.

Via officials said they are working with authorities to determine what happened.

More information for passengers and their families is available through the Via Rail emergency line at 1-877-747-0707.

Flock said emergency crews arrived at the scene not long after and locals also took the passengers into their homes to give them a warm place to wait.

"They welcomed us with open arms and she had coffee and I had toast ... and jam and they just couldn't do enough for us," she said. "They were absolutely fantastic." 

3 other incidents  

There have been derailments along the same railway section in the past.

The last time a similar incident occurred was Jan. 31, 2015, when a broken rail and damaged track switch caused 16 empty grain cars being lugged by a CN train to fall off the tracks.

Crews work on the derailed train cars Tuesday afternoon. (Riley Laychuk/CBC)

Prior to that, in 1998, a CN train hit a truck at a crossing. The driver was killed and one passenger sustained serious injuries, while two others suffered minor injuries.

And in 1987, a Via Rail train crashed into a CN train nearby where Tuesday's accident occurred.

WATCH | Cleaning up after Via passenger train goes off rails:

Train derailment clean up is underway near Gladstone, Man., where a Via Rail passenger train carrying 12 people went off the tracks on the morning of Dec. 31, 2019. 0:35

With files from Nicholas Frew, Dana Hatherly and Heather Wells

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

undefined