Canadian Manufacturing

Six train derailments in 4 months worries Slave Lake Alta., mayor

Four engines and 21 rail cars of a Canadian National train left the tracks a few kilometres east of Slave Lake on September 16



SLAVE LAKE, Alta.—A mayor of a town in northern Alberta says he’s concerned after another train derailment near his community—the sixth since May.

Four engines and 21 rail cars of a Canadian National train left the tracks a few kilometres east of Slave Lake on September 16.

Two of the rail cars that derailed were carrying dangerous jet fuel and sulphuric acid. All cars remained upright and there were no leaks or evacuations.

Mayor Tyler Warman said he wants Ottawa to evaluate the condition of the rail line and the causes of the derailments.

And he wants Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan to meet with him and others in Slave Lake to come up with a solution to prevent any more.

“Our community is very concerned,” Warman said, adding that he has spent the past several months learning about the railway system, talking with CN officials and walking tracks with their inspectors.

“We understand that there’s going to be things that happen and we understand that it’s never going to be a perfect scenario. But six derailments in four months—we’re talking upwards of almost a hundred train cars.”

Warman said some rail cars that derailed earlier this year did spill their loads, but nothing hazardous—just grain and pulp.

“We’ve been very lucky. But sooner or later the luck’s going to run out.”

NDP MP Linda Duncan, who represents Edmonton-Strathcona, said in a statement that the government has stepped up regulation of dangerous cargo since the train disaster in Lac-Megantic, Que., killed 47 people.

But she said the rail sector, by and large, remains self-regulated.

CN spokeswoman Emily Hamer wouldn’t comment on the previous derailments near Slave Lake but said the company is committed to safety.

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