TSB investigators deployed to scene of freight train derailment in Strathroy

Train derailment in Strathroy. Travis Dolynny/AM980
Train derailment in Strathroy. Travis Dolynny/AM980
Track damage. Travis Dolynny/AM980
Train derailment in Strathroy. Travis Dolynny/AM980

A team of investigators from the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has been deployed to the scene of a freight train derailment early Wednesday morning in Strathroy, officials with the agency said.

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Thirteen cars of a westbound CN Rail train left the tracks near the Metcalfe Street crossing around 4:20 a.m. Upon arrival at the scene, Strathroy-Caradoc police found several cars had derailed between the crossings of Caradoc Street and Richmond Street.

The cause of the derailment is being probed by CN Rail officials, Stathroy-Caradoc police, and by the TSB.

Jenny Correia lives behind the tracks and told AM980 the derailment woke her up.

“I was lying in bed and it was around four in the morning and I heard a big rumble and I walked outside and I walked around there and I saw the train had derailed off the tracks,” she said.

“I was just scared I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know if I had to leave my home, I was just freaked out. This has never happened, I’ve lived here my whole life.”

“We’ve got EMS here, we’ve got fire here, and everything is contained and controlled,” said Strathroy Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden at the scene late Wednesday morning. “We just want to remind our citizens to please stay behind the yellow tape and stay off the tracks, we want to make sure everybody is safe.”

No injuries were reported in the derailment, which caused one car to leak a small amount of petro alkylate, CN Rail officials said in an emailed statement to AM980. The environmentally sensitive product is used in the manufacturing and preparation of several products, including plastics.

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“The small leak was stopped and the spilled product was contained to the track,” read the statement, issued shortly after noon. “Environmental crews are on site cleaning it up since this morning.”

One of the cars had previously contained liquefied petroleum gas, but no dangerous good was released, officials said. The remainder of the cars were either empty or contained paper or agricultural products.

By 5:30 p.m., most of the train cars had been either removed from the tracks or had been re-railed.

The derailment resulted in the closure of several street crossings in Strathroy. The Metcalfe Street and Carroll Street rail crossings remained closed early Wednesday evening for cleanup and investigation.

In an email, Strathroy-Caradoc police said the Metcalfe crossing would remain closed for an indefinite amount of time, while the Carroll crossing would remain closed until approximately 2 a.m. so CN Rail crews could make track repairs.

VIA Rail Canada has cancelled trains #84 and #87 between Toronto and Sarnia until Friday due to the incident. Trains #84 and #87 will still operate between Toronto and London. Train #84 scheduled from Sarnia to London for Friday has been cancelled.

The rail service says customers are entitled to a full refund for their tickets and no alternate transportation will be provided.

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