Pictou County train derailment prompts evacuation

Nova Scotia RCMP are on the scene of a train derailment in Pictou County and have evacuated homes in a two-kilometre radius of Lansdowne Road in West River Station.

Evacuated residents put up in hotel; Nova Scotia RCMP say train carrying propane

Nova Scotia RCMP are on the site of a train derailment in West River Station in Pictou County, southwest of Stellarton. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Families evacuated from the scene of a train derailment in Pictou County will have to wait out the night in a nearby hotel before they will be allowed to return to their homes.

Cleanup and emergency crews from New Brunswick arrived at the derailment scene on Lansdowne Road in West River Station at around 10 p.m. Monday. They were expected to begin their work Tuesday morning.

Nova Scotia RCMP remain on the scene and evacuated homes in a two-kilometre radius of the derailment.

Police said six cars went off the tracks near 180 Lansdowne ​Rd., about 20 kilometres southwest of Stellarton, on Monday afternoon. They got the call at 1:57 p.m.

The derailed cars were carrying a mix of butane and propane, commonly referred to as liquid odourless propane, said RCMP. They were not leaking but the derailment prompted the evacuation of five homes in the nearby area.

Pictou County RCMP Const. Shane McNeil said the New Glasgow Fire Department's hazardous materials team is on site checking levels. He said they are happy with the levels of butane and propane but will continue to monitor them.

The train was travelling from Stellarton to Truro.

Police say there were two people on board the train and there are no reports of injuries.

Second derailment in two weeks

"We're just urging the public to avoid the area for the time being until emergency services can do a thorough containment and check on the area, just to be sure it's safe," said RCMP Cpl. Scott MacRae.

Families that have been evacuated are asked to register with the West River Fire station.

Sharon Ward, who lives on Montreal Road which intersects with Lansdowne Road right near the train tracks, said she and others are being put up at the Holiday Inn Express in New Glasgow. 

"They have our area all cleared out, there's nobody there. We're all here which is good. Just be patient and we’ll get back I'm sure," she said.

Muriel Jackson, who lives about half a kilometre from the derailment site, told CBC News she was told to leave her house and has not yet been told when she will be able to go back.

"I got to the end of Montreal Road and I saw the cars off the track," she said Monday.

"I went up to my house and my mother-in-law had said that the fire department was up and they said the propane tanks had derailed."

Lansdowne Road, Montreal Road, Gravel Pit Road and West River East Side Road are closed.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

This is the second train derailment in two weeks in Pictou County. Three rail cars carrying sheets of steel derailed in the downtown area of New Glasgow on May 29. No one was injured.