Montreal railcars derail, hit home in east end

A man living in Montreal's east end got quite a scare Thursday morning when he was woken up by the sound of a railcar hitting the outside wall of his home.

Nearly a dozen homes evacuated after part of freight train derails near Hochelaga train yard

A train car derailed in Montreal's east end on Thursday, striking a home. (CBC)

A man living in Montreal's east end got quite a scare Thursday morning when he was woken up by the sound of a train car hitting the outside wall of his home.

"At first I thought it was just an earthquake. But then there was the thud when it hit the building. We looked outside and there was a train car in our yard," Michael-Constantin Serbanescu said.

"I was more afraid than anything else. My dog was in the yard. Its doghouse is there. Luckily it wasn't hurt."

Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson with Canadian Pacific Railway, said it was around 10 a.m. ET when "empty intermodal flat railcars derailed near the Hochelaga rail yard."

Between five and 10 cars appear to have derailed.

The incident happened in a residential area near Terrasse Thomas-Valin and Lespérance Street. About 10 homes were evacuated.

"We saw one train car involved that had detached from the train. It's a platform-type of a car with nothing in it. It detached and hit the wall of the house," said Montreal fire chief Martin Farmer.

Police spent all afternoon conducting an initial investigation. By about 6 p.m., CP crews were allowed access to the site and began the clean-up process by removing and re-railing the cars.

Montreal mayor concerned

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said he's concerned about the condition of the track.

He added that the incident underscores the need for a registry so that people can know what freight trains are carrying through cities. 

"The next [federal] minister of transport will have to work with us to make sure we have all the information of what's going on on our rails," Coderre said. "We need to have good information at the beginning. We want to make sure we know what's on the train, and we've been making those demands since the tragedy at Lac-Mégantic.

"We've had some improvements in the legislation, but the bottom issue is this: I want to know what's passing on my territory so we will have a better contingency plan."

Woodrow said CP has enacted its emergency protocols and that safety precautions are being taken. 

The Transportation Safety Board is investigating the derailment.


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