CP Train derailment near Mountain cuts Toronto-Montreal line for a day. (with picture)
MOUNTAIN, Ont. All freight traffic on the Toronto-Montreal rail corridor was paralysed for 30 hours on the weekend by a train derailment in this quiet Eastern Ontario town.
A Canadian Pacific railcar carrying wax plunged off the track and burst into flames while travelling 80 km/h about 7 a.m. Saturday.
The 24-car pile-up burned until early Sunday morning on the outskirts of Mountain, 50 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.
There were no injuries and damage to local property was minimal. CP spokesman said no cause has been determined. The derailment is under investigation.
Had the cars derailed seconds earlier, the crash could have destroyed the home of Arnold and Marion Johnston, who were sleeping at the time.
The train overturned only 20 metres from the Johnston home, leaving the yard and garden littered with boulders and pieces of metal.
A steel railway shack was thrown 30 metres, coming to rest 10 metres from the farmhouse.
Windows were cracked and dirt was thrown into the house. There was also minor damage to the farm on the other side of the tracks.
"Another couple of hundred feet and it would have taken off the north side of the house," said Marion Johnston.
The derailment cancelled the Johnstons' plans for Saturday. They were expecting a large turn-out of friends and relatives to help with a hay harvest.
The Johnston's son Steve, who was in the barn milking cows at the time of the accident, said: "You'd swear you were in a war."
He said the boxcars just continued to pile up in the midst of flame and flying debris.
The 81-car train was carrying grain, general merchandise and automotive parts, along with the flammable wax substance, from Toronto to Montreal.
There was no toxic material on the train, which was travelling at two-thirds of its freight capacity.
The derailed cars on the west-bound line were removed and 150 metres of track were replaced, restoring west-bound service Sunday morning. East-bound freight traffic remains at a standstill until further repairs and clearing are done.
Six firetrucks from the Mountain County, Kemptville, and the Winchester fire departments tried to control the fierce blaze throughout the day and most of the night