Ontario Highway Closed After Train Derailment on Magnetawan First Nation


Leaders of Magnetawan First Nation in northern Ontario are working closely with CP Rail as it investigates what could have been a disastrous derailment in the nation’s traditional territory on Friday January 22.

The derailment closed Highway 529, which leads to Magnetawan, one of 39 communities comprising the Anishinabek Nation.

“Hwy 529 will be closed until clean up is done around 8pm,” said Magnetawan First Nation Chief Diabo in a statement. “We aren’t completely cut off, but emergency services—police, ambulance and fire—are aware of the road block and know to go around.”

In this case, four cars jumped the tracks but did not tip over. They were carrying lumber, train parts and empty tankers, Diabo said. Authorities said people should steer clear of the area until cleanup was done because of the heavy equipment involved.

“We are fortunate that there is no risk and this is not a major disaster as it could’ve been,” Diabo said. “Speaking with the CP Rail, there will be an investigation and a report issued to our community as soon as they are done with it.”

Although this derailment did not involve oil trains or fatalities, it added to consternation over the use of trains to transport hazardous materials, which has come under scrutiny after a string of accidents. Most notably, in Canada, was the 2013 crash that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, when the brakes failed and the 47-tanker train careened into the center of the 6,000-person town.

RELATED: Exploded Quebec Oil Train Was Bringing Crude From North Dakota's Bakken to New Brunswick Refineries

Such incidents are becoming more and more common, the Quinault Nation has noted in numerous instances.

RELATED: Seattle Oil-Train Derailment Hits Close to Home for Quinault

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Wultenviron's picture
Submitted by Wultenviron on
CP rail crews were remotely operating a train near Edmonton. Four cars derailed spilling 98860 liters of styrene, used in plastic. Remote control is used mainly inside rail yards to efficiently shift cars around as trains are put together. Railroads like it because they can use people who make less than engineers to move the cars around. Of course these lower wage people may not be as skilled as the engineers and that could be a safety issues (the unions say it is, he U.S. Federal Railway Administration says it is, CP and CN management say it isn't while admitting to, respectively, 5 and 12 minor derailments). A switcher with only a month on the job was involved in the Edmonton snafu. Railroads have to serve shareholders as well as the public and it is only natural that a quest for profit may tilt the balance against safety and maintenance. The Federal Railway Administration is supposed to regulate the railroads. But pressure from the railroads and even from a citizenry hell bent to free itself from having to rely upon foreign oil has induced the FRA to do too much trusting and not enough verifying, particularly where more inspections are concerned. It’s time to send new marching orders to the FRA. Strict enforcement of railroad health and safety rules ought to be their mantra until we can assess just how much damage to rails, switches, and bridges has been done since the surge in heavy, long oil trains, begun in 2008, has put them under so much stress and strain. Sign the petition demanding arms length and gloves off regulation and add a comment so that for once railroad lobbyists have to compete with the vox populi. http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/enforce-railroad-health?source=s.fwd&r_by=1718159