|Two CN derailments in British Columbia in one day!
|December 7, 2005
CN again faces major questions following two derailments that occurred within hours of one another on Monday, December 5th in B.C.
The first accident took place on a stretch of track where seeing a CN train or cars on their side is becoming old habit. Seven empty cars
of a 125-car train jumped the track in the Cheakamus Canyon near Squamish. This was in the vicinity where a toxic tank car plunged into
the Cheakamus River in the summer, killing hordes of fish and polluting water supplies. This is rail lines that were operated by BC Rail
prior to the Campbell Government selling it off in 2003.
Later in the day, four cars carrying new automobiles on a 39-car train derailed while crossing a swinging trestle bridge running across
the Fraser River in Richmond, just outside of Vancouver. No crew members were injured in either accident.
It was a month ago that Federal Transport Minister Jean Lapierre stated that a federal audit of CN's safety practices found "all kinds of
problems," despite CN still claiming to be the "safest railroad in North America. Lapierre said that Ottawa could call for a public inquiry
into the company's operations if changes aren't made.
Transport Canada took the unusual step of ordering the audit in back August following the most damaging CN derailment in B.C., that
too involving the Cheakamus Canyon, where sodium hydroxide spilled into the Cheakamus River killing an estimated 4,000 salmon and
Lapierre also ordered CN to cut the length of its conventional trains on this treacherous stretch of track in light of the several recent
derailments. The order was to limit conventional freight trains to 80 cars while operating northbound between Squamish and Clinton,
Following Monday's (Dec.5th) Squamish derailment, Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland stated that the Federal Government should impose
further restrictions on the length of trains CN runs through the Cheakamus Canyon, just north of the town of Squamish.
Check out past stories on CN's derailment derailment woes this year by clicking this link!