Winnipeg derailment renews safety concerns about crude oil shipments
WINNIPEG – An overnight train derailment at the Symington rail yard took all day Friday to clean up.
There were no injuries or leaks after three cars carrying crude oil jumped the tracks and remained upright, but CN crews and heavy machinery were busy at the site near Fermor Avenue and Plessis Road on Winnipeg’s eastern edge.
“We’re a city of railroads, we have major rail tracks running through the centre of our city, right next to where people live,” said St. Boniface councillor Dan Vandal, who’s been outspoken on the topic of rail safety.
The train was moving at a slow speed. Crews quickly responded to check the tanks and tracks.
The cause of the derailment is still being investigated and the Transport Safety Board was notified.
CN Rail says two of the cars were DOT-111 tankers, the same type of crude oil carrying cars involved in the Lac-Megantic train derailment and explosion nearly a year ago that killed 47 people.
Since then, “Transport Canada is requiring that all DOT-111 tank cars built before the January 2014 proposed standard that are used to transport crude oil and ethanol be phased out or refitted within three years,” said Transport Canada in a statement.
“City hall has moved a motion, this is what we want, we’ve punted it up to the federal government. The federal government is working with the railroad companies and transportation authority and they have the authority to make the improvements,” said Vandal.
CN insists the hundreds of tanker cars that move through Winnipeg every day are safe, even if accidents sometimes happen.
“CN has a very comprehensive emergency response plan in place for any type of incident so we work closely with emergency responders if necessary,” said CN rep Warren Chandler over the phone.
Transport Canada also says these tankers are being replaced with about 55,000 new tank cars, representing nearly half of the current DOT-111 tank car fleet transporting crude oil.