candidate Kuzminski reacts to latest CN accident
July 9, 2008
Source: Brigitte Petersen - Jasper Booster staff
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Crews were busy cleaning up last week after five train cars carrying
grain ran off the rails near Jasper’s Petro Canada station.
A witness reported to the Jasper Booster last week that the CN Rail
train had been pulling out of the Jasper station when a wheel flew off,
causing cars to derail and grain to spill.
No injuries were reported due to the derailment. The incident happened
at about 7:40 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. The rail line was re-opened the
Kevin Franchuk, a CN spokesperson, said the train cars were not carrying
dangerous goods. CN crews and contractors used vacuum trucks to clean up
the spilled grain.
Franchuk said the cause of the accident is still to be determined. “The
incident is under investigation,” he said.
The last couple of weeks have been challenging times for rail companies.
Divers spent last Wednesday morning inspecting two rail cars loaded with
chemicals after they landed in the Thompson River following a Canadian
Pacific Railway train derailment. The accident happened on July 1 near
Lytton, B.C. The CPR train had been travelling on the CN track about 100
kilometres southwest of Kamloops when it was hit by a rock slide caused
by heavy thunderstorms, derailing several cars carrying ethylene glycol,
a chemical used in antifreeze and windshield fluid. Environmental
officials reported that no chemicals had spilled into the river.
The federal government ordered CN in June to remove potentially faulty
wheels mounted on trains at the company’s Transcona wheel shop. The
emergency directive came following a Transportation Safety Board railway
investigation report released on June 5.
The federal government has given the railway about four months to remove
any wheels that may be faulty.
The report found that about 12,000 sets are still being used by Canadian
Pacific Railway (CPR), CN and other railroads in North America. Loose
wheels has been identified as the cause of a CPR freight train
derailment near Buckskin, Ont. on Jan. 31, 2006, according to the
report. Train car wheels had been mounted at CN’s Transcona wheel shop
The report found that the shop sent out 43,000 suspect wheel sets
between 1998 and 2001. Many of the sets have already been removed.
Ken Kuzminski, Yellowhead riding’s NDP candidate in the provincial
election held in March, has been vocalizing his concern about railway
safety for last two years.
Kuzminski said if the train had been loaded with ammonia, propane or
chlorine, Jasper residents and visitors could have been threatened and
the local environment would have been damaged.“We would have had to
evacuate part of the community on Canada Day weekend,” he said.
Kuzminski criticized CN for not working on improving its safety record.
“We get so much rail traffic,” he said. “If something happens, we should
be as prepared as possible.”
Kuzminski also blamed the federal government for not having stronger
controls over railway safety. He said it should be as closely monitored
as the airline industry and that safety should come before profits.
“Railway safety is a huge concern,” said Kuzminski. “These concerns are
across Canada. We should all be concerned about the economic and
|A CN Rail train lost a wheel and derailed near the
town’s Petro Canada station June 29. A witness said the
train was pulling out of the Jasper station when its wheel
flew off, causing five cars to derail and grain to spill
over the tracks, a pedestrian crossing and into the
Kolby Kongsrud submitted photo