WATCH ABOVE: Will Lac-Mégantic findings lead to increased rail safety in Alberta? Kendra Slugoski reports.
EDMONTON – The Transportation Safety Board released its report into the fiery Lac-Megantic, Quebec train derailment on Tuesday. It cited 18 factors that led to the tragedy, which left 47 people dead and much of the town’s core destroyed in July 2013.
Since the Lac-Mégantic tragedy there have been at least half a dozen train derailments in Alberta, including a fiery one in Gainford just west of Edmonton. Many have been minor, but first responders say whenever rail cars are carrying explosive materials, there’s the potential for disaster.
In 2009, 500 carloads of crude oil were shipped by train. Last year, that number jumped to 160,000 and it’s expected to hit 510,000 in 2016. A Global News analysis found that train spills in transit are larger than those from pipelines.
Here’s a look at some of the incidents in Alberta over the past year:
September 12, 2013
Eight cars carrying a diluting agent jumped the tracks in Calgary, forcing six of them to overturn. A number of surrounding roadways were shut down as a result, and 12 businesses and 142 homes had to be evacuated while first responders tried to determine what was inside the cars. The Calgary Fire Department eventually billed CP Rail for more than $500,000, because of the level of emergency response required.
A TSB investigation is still underway.
October 16, 2013
Three train carrying cars of anhydrous ammonia, an agricultural fertilizer, derailed. A voluntary evacuation was conducted as a precautionary measure, but no one was injured.
October 19, 2013
Thirteen cars — four carrying petroleum crude oil and nine carrying liquefied petroleum gas – came off the tracks in the hamlet of Gainford. Several exploded, sending flames shooting into the sky and melting the siding on nearby homes. About 100 people were forced from their homes for four days and Highway 16 was closed. A TSB investigation is still underway.
November 3, 2013
Thirteen cars — 12 carrying lumber and one carrying sulphur dioxide — came off the tracks in a rural area. No damage or injuries were reported.
January 15, 2014
A slow-speed collision at a rail yard in north Edmonton resulted in the derailment of two dangerous goods tanker cars, three locomotive engines, and one empty flat car. No leaks, damage or injuries were reported.
May 8, 2014
Nine cars carrying pulp left the tracks. Six nearby homes were evacuated for a day as a precaution; but no damages or injuries were reported.
June 11, 2014
Twenty cars — 17 residue tank cars, one lumber car, and two hopper cars — derailed. No damage or injuries were reported. A TSB investigation is still underway.
July 4, 2014
Five rail cars carrying crude oil and forest products derailed in a rural area. There were no injuries or damage.
August 2, 2014
A set of wheels on an empty train car came off the tracks in a loading yard, which prevented another train from continuing on. That second train blocked the only road into Brûlé (located southwest of Hinton) for the better part of a day.