Above: A train carrying pulp derailed in the Town of Slave Lake shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday. Ross Neitz has the details.
EDMONTON – The Mayor of Slave Lake says a train has derailed in a residential area of the town Thursday afternoon.
The derailment happened just one block off the town’s main street.
The 3rd Street and Highway 88 railway crossings were blocked, but the Main Street crossing remained open, according to the town’s website.
Mayor Tyler Warman says emergency crews were called to assess the scene, but no major spills or injuries have been reported.
Warren Chandler, senior manager for public affairs with CN, says nine cars loaded with pulp derailed around 4:10 p.m.
“There are dangerous goods cars on the train, but indications are that these cars are neither derailed nor losing any product,” said Chandler.
“There is some liquid leaking, but it’s only water. So we’re not concerned at this point with any dangerous goods or any hazards to health,” said Warman.
Six area homes were evacuated as a precaution. Warman says residents will be put up in a hotel overnight.
Victor Swan, who lives two blocks away from the derailment site, says he was taking a break from his yardwork when he heard a loud ‘bang.’ He says it looks like the derailed cars crushed a few sheds.
Swan, who has lived in the same home for 14 years, says a similar derailment took place on the tracks a few years ago on the outskirts of town. He says he and other residents have had concerns about the tracks for years.
“It was a matter of when, not if,” he said. “These tracks are original and they’re old and they go right through downtown Slave Lake.”
Warman says the town had a meeting with CN last fall, where safety and maintenance of the line were addressed.
“From that, there was some areas identified to get some improvement done and they did a bunch of work on that.”
He says further work on the line is planned for this spring.
It’s expected to take 24 to 48 hours for crews to remove the train wreckage.
There is no word yet on what caused the derailment.
© Shaw Media, 2014