New Brunswick

'It's a concern': Latest minor derailment in Saint John under investigation

A Saint John fire department official is expressing concerns after another minor derailment of tanker cars carrying crude oil occurred along a busy stretch of Rothesay Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.

3 tanker cars carrying crude oil 'slipped the tracks' along Rothesay Avenue Tuesday during lunch hour

The three tanker cars were safely rerailed within two hours of slipping the tracks, NB Southern Railway spokeswoman Mary Keith said. (Roger Cosman/CBC)

A Saint John fire department official is expressing concerns after another minor derailment of tanker cars carrying crude oil occurred along a busy stretch of Rothesay Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.

Three NB Southern Railway cars were moving at a speed of approximately 16 kilometres per hour when they "slipped the tracks" around 12:20 p.m., company spokeswoman Mary Keith said in an email to CBC News.

"All cars remained upright and there was no fire, no injury to any person and no damage to the rail cars or product," said Keith.

The tanker cars were safely rerailed within two hours and all regulatory agencies were notified, she said.

NB Southern Railway officials are investigating the cause.

At least 2 in past 3 months

Platoon chief Kevin Comeau, who had crews and a hazmat "scout team" onsite as a precaution, said Tuesday's derailment is the latest in a number of minor NB Southern Railway derailments in the same area, on the city's east side.

"Recently there have been a few," said Comeau, estimating "under half a dozen" in the past five months.

The Saint John Fire Department and NB Southern Railway are trying to determine the cause of the recent derailments, said platoon chief Kevin Comeau. (CBC)
His platoon alone has responded to two derailments in the last three months, he said, noting the fire department has four platoons.

"Where we've seen this happening a number of times, it's a concern. It's a concern of ours. Our concern, number one, is safety for the public," said Comeau.

"We are investigating it and NB Southern is working with us. We just haven't got everything determined yet," he said.

"It's a priority [for the fire department] as well as NB Southern … but it is a large process. It's not something that can be done quickly."

The provincial government has previously said the minor nature of such derailments does not warrant its own investigation.

Because NB Southern Railway isn't a federal line, the Transportation Safety Board does not investigate either.

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