Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

VIDEO: Large-scale clean up of rail crash near Hope continues

Approximately 60 rail cars carrying potash derailed near Hope Monday morning

As of Tuesday, Sept. 15, crews were still involved in a large-scale clean up after a train derailment Sept. 14 near Hope.

Approximately 60 CP Rail cars carrying potash were involved in the derailment which happened along CN rail tracks on the southeast side of the Fraser River early on the morning of Sept. 14. The Transportation Safety Board was deployed to the site of the derailment, which occured along a rail bridge over Hunter Creek – a waterway that feeds into the Fraser River – adjacent to Highway 1 near Hope.

Hope Fire Department crews were first on scene after 4:30 a.m., responding to what was originally called in as a possible grass fire. Crews responded with two engines and two water tenders, fire chief Tom DeSorcy said, and started by locating the engine, the engineer, any crew as well as determining that the 200-car train was carrying potash and no other types of cargo.

The fire crew then called in the relevant authorities as they dealt with spot fires along the tracks. In an email to Black Press Media Monday morning, CN Rail confirmed there were “no injuries, fires, or dangerous goods” involved in the derailment.

A hazardous materials team was observed on scene Monday, as well as contractors carrying heavy machinery. At the site of the crash, the pink-coloured potash could be seen spilling from the train wreckage down onto the banks of the creek below.

CN confirmed potash entered the creek at the time of the derailment. “The spill has since been contained and removal has started with a vacuum truck,” a Tuesday statement read. The company added that up- and downstream water monitoring is taking place and containment barriers have been put up. After this immediate work is done, site remediation will go on for the next little while said spokesperson with CN rail Jonathan Abecassis.

A multi-agency response is ongoing at the site, a spokesperson with Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed. “It is not clear yet if this incident has any immediate or direct impact on migrating fish but spawning sturgeon habitat is nearby,” Leri Davies with Fisheries and Oceans stated via email, adding that two fishery officers were on site Monday and the situation is being assessed.

Potash, the common name for a group of minerals and chemicals containing potassium, is used primarily in the production of fertilizer. Canada has the world’s second largest reserves of potash, and is also the world’s largest producer and exporter of the substance according to Natural Resources Canada.

Currently crews are working to remove rail cars, Abecassis said, which will be followed by track work and possibly bridge work as well. “Once that’s completed, we’ll be able to re-open. But at this point it would be too early to be able to give you an estimate,” Abecassis said.

Crews are working as “safely and as efficiently as possible to get it going again, while the site remediation work is also happening” Abecassis said. Crews need to work within COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, as well as work outside as air quality dips to high and very high risk levels due to wildfire smoke from the Western United States. As of Tuesday morning, Abecassis said he understands crews are safe to work outside but the situation is being monitored closely. “If there’s any adjustments that need to be made to protect the safety of our employees, we’ll be sure to make them,” he said.

In a Monday evening council meeting, mayor of the neighbouring District of Kent Sylvia Pranger cautioned residents that CP Rail tracks running through the community would see heavier traffic as a result of the derailment. MLA for Chilliwack-Kent stated Monday that rail traffic will be running both ways on the CP Rail line for around 40 hours.

In normal circumstances CP Rail tracks on the northwest side of the Fraser River carry trains in one direction up into the Fraser Canyon and Northern B.C., while the CN tracks on the southeast side of the river carry trains in one direction towards Vancouver.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, CN Rail confirmed.

– with files from Patrick Penner, Adam Louis

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

A net strung along Hunter Creek up from the crash site appeared to be a mitigative measure for fish in the river. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Mangled rail cars were temporarily placed under a highway bridge as crews worked to dismantle the wreckage from a Sept. 14 derailment of CN rail cars carrying potash. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy delays were experienced by westbound travellers along Highway 1 as crews worked to dismantle the wreckage from a Sept. 14 derailment of CN rail cars west of Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

The wreckage from a CN Rail derailment as seen from ahead of the crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Just Posted

Victoria Humane Society takes revenue hit after donation bins vandalized

Organization removes clothing donation bins after contents removed, scattered

South Island Transportation Strategy looks to reduce reliance on personal vehicles

EV charging stations, bike lockers, new park-and-ride stalls among solutions in Capital Region

Vancouver Island police officers sporting personalized face masks

Masks for Central Saanich officers will feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

Victoria police seek suspects in series of bear spray attacks

Police responded to several calls Saturday evening

COLUMN: COVID-19 statistics are the stories of people

This pandemic is ultimately about people, not just about numbers

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Ahead of likely second wave, 60% of Canadians relaxing COVID-19 measures

Proportion of Canadians not following safety measures has dropped by 3 per cent in the past two weeks

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

West Shore RCMP arrives just in time thanks to tip

Officers remind of resources after mental health call Monday morning

Driver faces charges after Greater Victoria crash

Lanes closed Monday afternoon, one person taken to hospital

Man arrested after speeding to Victoria court date for driving offence

West Shore RCMP remind drivers to be mindful of construction zones

Canada’s population tops 38 million, even as COVID-19 pandemic slows growth

Immigration, the top population driver, decreased due to the pandemic

Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Louie family has operated Oxford Foods and predecessor for five decades at Cook and Oxford streets

Most Read