Tag Archives: Toronto ONT

LATEST DERAILMENT: Diesel fuel leak in heart of Toronto, no injuries

Repost from the Toronto Star

Freight train derailment a ‘wake-up call’ on rail safety, councillor says

Human error blamed for freight train derailment in heart of the city after a Canadian Pacific Railway train collided with another on Sunday morning.
By Ebyan Abdigir, Aug. 21, 2016
A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision.
A CP Railway freight train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts., early Sunday after two trains collided, causing a diesel fuel spill. CP blames human error for the collision. (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE / TORONTO STAR)

Human error is being blamed for a freight train derailment in the heart of Toronto Sunday morning that had crews scrambling to contain a diesel fuel leak.

The derailment happened after a train struck the tail of another train at about 5:20 a.m. near Dupont and Bathurst Sts., Canadian Pacific Railway spokesperson Martin Cej told the Star.

No one was injured in the collision and subsequent derailment and the diesel fuel leak, which Toronto police said had not been a threat to public safety, was quickly contained.

Cej said that one car was carrying batteries and aerosols, which are classified as “dangerous goods” under Canadian regulation, but they did not leak, he confirmed.

City councillor Josh Matlow raised new concerns Sunday about freight trains running through densely populated neighbourhoods.

A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.
A CN train derailed near Bridgeman and Howland Aves., East of Bathurst and Dupont Sts.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

“While it was incredibly fortunate no one was hurt today, this derailment should act as a wake-up call for the federal government to move swiftly on rail safety,” he said.

This spring, Mayor John Tory, Matlow and 16 other councillors whose wards are nestled by rail lines, signed a letter sent to Marc Garneau, the federal Transport Minister, calling for better rail safety.

The 2016 federal budget allocated $143 million to be used over three years to improve rail safety.

Cej said “early indications” point to human error as the cause of Sunday’s collision and derailment and that equipment failure was not a factor.

Bartlett Ave., north of Dupont, was closed while police and rail officials investigated the incident.

A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.
A crowd gathers near where a CP Railway train derailed near Bathurst and Dupont Sts. on Sunday morning.   (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE)

Although there were no dangerous goods on board either train Sunday, roughly 9 per cent of goods transported by CP in Ontario are regulated dangerous goods, according to a disclosure to Transport Canada for 2015.

A 2014 investigation by Star reporter Jessica McDiarmid monitored CP’s rail line that crosses Barlett Ave. on its way to Dupont St. in the Junction before it goes northward, west of the Don Valley.

Between two 12-hour shifts, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the Star found that more than 130 cars and tanks carried dangerous goods such as crude oil, methyl bromide and ethyl trichlorosilane, and more.

A little over three years ago, a train hauling 72 cars of crude oil, derailed in Lac-Mégantic, Que. It resulted in an inferno that killed 47 people, and spilled six million litres of crude.

Since the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster, rail companies are required to provide information to municipalities for emergency planning, however, under strict confidentiality agreements. Canada’s largest railroads already did this upon request.

In February 2015, the federal government introduced a bill that increased the amount of insurance railways must carry to cover costs in the event of a derailment.

A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.
A worker grabs hold of the railing of a derailed CN engine near Bridgeman and Howland Aves. on August 21.  (ANDREW FRANCIS WALLACE) 

With files from Fakiha Baig and Star Staff

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    Proposed new pipeline: Both pipelines, trains too risky for tarsands oil

    Repost from The Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan
    [Editor:  See also, Huffington Post: “Nearly 300 Pipeline Spills In North Dakota Have Gone Unreported To The Public Since January 2012.”  – RS]

    Pipelines, trains risky for oil

    By Florence Stratton, April 24, 2015

    TransCanada is promoting Energy East (April 20 commentary), a pipeline that will cut through Harbour Landing in Regina.

    Using an old natural gas pipeline for the Saskatchewan portion, Energy East will transport 175 million litres of tarsands oil per day from Alberta to Eastern Canada, mainly for export.

    TransCanada claims its pipelines are safe, but in its initial year of operation, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline, constructed in 2010, had 12 spills, including one that dumped 79,493 litres of oil in North Dakota. [Editor: See Wall Street Journal report.  Also ClimateProgress.]

    Energy East is especially risky. The Saskatchewan section of the pipeline is 43 years old and was constructed to carry natural gas, not tarsands oil, a thicker substance requiring higher pumping pressure.

    Should Energy East be approved, the question is not if, but when there will be pipeline leaks and spills. What happened in North Dakota could happen right in Regina.

    TransCanada also claims that pipeline transport of oil is safer than rail transport. In truth, both are safety hazards.

    Moreover, both modes of transport facilitate the expansion of tarsands production, an environmental hazard. Indeed, climate scientists warn that, if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must leave at least 80 per cent of tarsands oil in the ground.

    Citizen safety, health, and welfare must take precedence over corporate profit.

    Regina should follow the good example of Toronto and ban the transport of tarsands oil through our city by rail or pipeline.

    Florence Stratton, Regina

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      Derailment fallout: suspended passenger service

      Repost from Railway Age

      Via Rail pondering alternative Ontario routing for suspended Canadian

      By  David Thomas, Contributing Editor, March 20, 2015

      After months of late arrivals due to track congestion on CN’s northern Ontario main line, compounded by slow orders arising from CN’s efforts to recover from two tar sands oil train explosions, Via Rail is examining an alternative routing for the Canadian, the continent’s last classic streamliner, originally Canadian Pacific’s premier luxury passenger train.

      Via suspended Canadian service between Winnipeg and Toronto March 11, citing the impossibility of maintaining schedules as CN dealt with the oil train mishaps near Gogama.

      One option is to shift to CP trackage between Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Sudbury, Ontario, something Via Rail CEO Yves Desjardins-Siciliano hinted at last November during an interview with Railway Age. The motive, he said then, would be to provide passengers with a more scenic route closer to the Great Lakes, while at the same time serving more communities.

      The imperative now is simply to get the train running again before the summer tourism season.

      A contract would have to be negotiated with CP, and Via’s engineers would need to be qualified on CP track and operations, something that could take up to two months. Via will consider next week whether it can restore northern Ontario service over CN tracks, either indefinitely or pending a move to CP.

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