New Brunswick

CN Rail derailment site, Longley Road, reopens to public

The Longley Road in Wapske — the scene of a fiery train wreck last month — is open the public again.

Site was closed off for weeks while CN cleaned up the mess freight train hauling crude oil

The Longley Road in Wapske — the scene of a fiery train wreck last month —  is open the public again.

The site was closed off for weeks while CN cleaned up the mess. Media and the general public were not allowed access to the site.

On Jan. 7 a CN freight hauling crude oil derailed near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick sparking a fire that burned for several days.

One of the families living closest to the crash site recently returned to their home there — a month after fleeing.

Steven Levesque and his partner Barbara Bourgoine saw the fire from their living room window.

“Just where the end of the rail, right there. The end of the box cars full of lumber, they were laying there, a ball of flames, right there,” said Levesque.

Except for scorch marks on the power line pole, there is little evidence of the accident now.

Levesque describes how the oil was knee deep in his backyard following the crash.

“The oil was right up to here, completely surrounding the house. This is where they dug everything up, this was all full of oil, all right here,” said Levesque showing the CBC around his property.

But it was the burn-off of the butane by CN, seen from miles away, that cracked the windows and burned off the insulation at the front of his house.

CN has since replaced the siding, and rebuilt the deck. It also replaced the windows and the inside plumbing that had frozen and burst.

Levesque and Bourgoine were forced to lived in a motel unit. They were only able to return home a week ago. They are still awaiting word on compensation.

“Being out of the house for a month and going through everything we went through, I think it would only be fair,” said Levesque.

A new couch replaces the one smelling of diesel. A couch from where Levesque and Bourgoine can still see the trains thunder by.

“You have a different perspective of it, of the trains going by now, especially her. Like she'll be sitting there, and see the train going by, and going by, and she almost starts to shake. She's scared, when she sees it go by now,” said Levesque.

Levesque said CN has promised to return to clean up oil from his driveway and re-test the water it says is now good to drink again.