Category Archives: Freight trains

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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    LATEST DERAILMENTS: A 3rd in Selkirk Railyard in less than 2 months, and 1 in Arkansas

    [Editor: This is the 3rd derailment in the Selkirk Railyard since June 24.  See LATEST DERAILMENTS: 2 in Selkirk NY in a week, another same day in Selkirk, Manitoba.  – RS]

    Eight freight cars derail at Selkirk CSX rail yard

    By Kevin O’Toole, August 13, 2016, 8:42 pm, News10, Albany

    SELKIRK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Emergency crews responded to a train derailment at the CSX Rail Yark in Selkirk, N.Y. Saturday evening.

    A CSX representative told News10 that around 7 p.m. Saturday eight cars of a CSX freight train derailed.

    There are no reports of leaks or injuries from the incident.

    The CSX representative said the train cars were carrying intermodal freight from Chicago to North Bergen, N.J.

    Emergency crews are still assessing the scene, and CSX says the investigation to identify the cause of the derailment will begin once the scene is safe.

    Contractors are on standby to help clean up the site, and clear the derailed cars once crews have finished assessing the scene.

    Union Pacific train derails in SW Arkansas

    31 railroad cars derail on Highway 82 causing major traffic snarl
    By Nancy Cook, 08/15 2016 10:50AM, ArkLaTex.com
    derailment_LafayetteCoAK_2016-08-14
    Derailment – Lafayette County, Arkansas

    LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Ark.  |  A Union Pacific train derailed just outside of Lewisville, Arkansas this afternoon, causing a traffic slowdown on Highway 82 that is expected to cause delays throughout the day Monday, though there were no injuries.

    Lafayette County Sheriff Obie Sims says the call came in about the train derailment involving 31 cars around 12:45 p.m. today.

    Lewisville is about 20 miles south of Texarkana, and Highway 82 is the main thoroughfare to Texarkana from Magnolia and Hope.

    The tracks run parallel to Highway 82, which has been reduced to one lane during the clean-up. Sims said the cleanup will continue throughout Monday, and until it’s complete, traffic will be very slow.

    The cars were carrying frac sand, which is made from sandstone and is not hazardous, but, Sims said, made a mess and “ripped up the bridge.”

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      Oakland: New rail yard at port welcomes first train – 100 cars of animal feed

      Repost from the East Bay Times
      [Editor: Significant quote – The new rail yard “will be able to handle as many as 200 train cars at a time, Vuong said. It anticipates shipping mostly agricultural products, Bernardo said, adding, ‘We don’t ship coal.'”

      Oakland port’s new rail yard likely to boost local economy

      By Erin Baldassari, 07/07/2016, updated 07/08/16

      OAKLAND — While public uproar over a proposal to export coal may have slowed down one redevelopment project at the former Oakland Army Base, another one has been quietly under construction.

      And on Thursday, a 100-car train rolled in from the Midwest, carrying animal feed that was unloaded and repacked on-site for distribution overseas — the first of what the Port of Oakland hopes will be many such shipments at its new rail yard.

      The roughly $258 million project, which is being developed in two phases, will ultimately house a warehousing and distribution center, offering commodity suppliers a more efficient way to sort and ship containerized goods, said port spokesman Robert Bernardo.

      Workers with Capitol River Group, tenants of the Port of Oakland, use an NPK hard car unloader to loosen the DDG (distillers dried grain) from the train
      Workers with Capitol River Group, tenants of the Port of Oakland, use an NPK hard car unloader to loosen the DDG (distillers dried grain) from the train car as they unload the feed into container trucks for transportation at the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal rail yard in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday, July 7, 2016. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

      Once both phases are completed, which is expected in 2019, the facility will provide an estimated 4,000 jobs on-site, plus another 8,000 jobs from ancillary industries, not including construction jobs, he said. Currently, many of the large warehousing and distribution centers are located in the San Joaquin and Central valleys, Bernardo said.

      “Those warehouses and distribution centers can be hundreds of miles from the port,” he said. “So, this allows us to move products much faster.”

      The new rail yard also enables the port to handle more cargo without adding to the often-congested weekday traffic at the port as trucks wait to drop off and pick up containers at marine terminals, Bernardo said. The port recently added night hours to help eliminate some of that congestion, which was exacerbated when one of the port’s four terminal operators declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

      Each “hopper” train car, which are used to transport loose bulk commodities, can carry 3½ times as much product as a single 40-foot truck container, Bernardo said. “It’s a lot more efficient,” he said of the train cars. “Not only are you reducing truck pollution, but at the same time, we’re increasing commerce for the region.”

      Before the opening of the new rail yard — officially named the Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal, or OHIT — the port could accommodate a train with only 17 cars, said Thanh Vuong, the port’s supervising engineer. The former yard was part of the Oakland Army Base and not the port, he said, and had limited capacity for lumber and small bulk cargo such as wallboard.

      Now, OHIT will be able to handle as many as 200 train cars at a time, Vuong said. It anticipates shipping mostly agricultural products, Bernardo said, adding, “We don’t ship coal.”

      The port is also anticipating that construction will begin later this year on a $90 million cold storage facility, Vuong said, allowing customers greater flexibility in shipping temperature-controlled products.

      Bernardo said the expansion is part of a major transformation for the port and will help the agency attract cargo suppliers from outside California that might otherwise have shipped their products through other West Coast ports.

      “We do want to bring more cargo through Oakland, and specifically, cargo that isn’t local to the region,” he said. “We’re working with our business partners and government funding partners to make that happen, and we’re also using the existing infrastructure to really develop the port and make us more competitive.”

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