Train derailment west of Field, B.C., knocks out power, prompting battery back-up

CP confirmed a train has derailed about five miles west of Field B.C. Jeff McIntosh / The Canadian Press

A train derailment west of Field, B.C., has caused a power outage to the village and the surrounding area.

CP confirmed Tuesday a grain train derailed at approximately 1:40 a.m. MT.

There were no injuries and CP has dispatched crews and equipment but the incident has left the village in the dark.

“Early this morning a CP train derailed and it caused some damage to our electrical infrastructure and it caused some power outages,” BC Hydro Spokesperson Kevin Aquino said Tuesday afternoon.

BC Hydro said customers were supplied power from the ESF battery back-up for the morning.

“We ask that while your power is coming from the battery, please conserve electricity if possible to extend the supply. This might mean postponing energy-intensive tasks until grid power has been restored,” the company said in a statement posted online.

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But that only held up until noon Tuesday, leaving the entire village powerless for the remainder of the day.

“Unfortunately we do not have a cause for why the backup battery did go out,” Aquino said.

BC Hydro said crews are set to access the site Tuesday evening with plans to get power restored to the community by midnight.

Click to play video: 'Massive train derailment in B.C.’s Fraser Valley'
Massive train derailment in B.C.’s Fraser Valley

Tuesday’s outage made worse because it’s the middle of winter and temperatures were way below freezing.

“Are we going to freeze? Are our pipes going to burst?” Field resident Luc Blanchette said.

BC Hydro said it was aware of some warming centres being set up for residents, as well as hotel rooms for the night, provided by CP Rail.

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Blanchette said the outage is frustrating because it happens all too often due to the location of the power lines.

The lines run on CP rail property as well as through Yoho National Park, making repairs more complicated.

Blanchette said trees are often coming down on the lines and the difficult to access location means sometimes he is left without power for days.

“It’s completely unacceptable. It’s insulting. I don’t understand why everyone else in the world has it beside an access road. And here in Yoho National Park, it isn’t.”

Global News asked BC Hydro if there were plans to move those lines in the future.

“There are ways we are looking into ensuring that customers have a reliable and clean source of power,” BC Hydro’s spokesperson said.

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

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