|Ottawa Citizen 3 April 1986|
LONG SAULT - A broken wheel axle may have caused a spectacular 19-car freight train derailment here Wednesday that is blocking the main east-west CN line.
Witnesses saw sparks coming from the wheels of a boxcar seconds before the 147-car west-bound train jumped the tracks in this community 10 kilometres west of Cornwall.
Work crews aided by a huge auxiliary crane from Montreal are working today to clear the 19 smashed boxcars from the twisted west track, which covers about half a kilometre of the double main line.
Rail officials, who are still investigating the cause of the accident, hope to reopen one line by Friday afternoon.
No one was injured in the accident, which occurred shortly after 9 p.m. at the Avonmore Road crossover in the north end of the village. The train was manned by a four-man crew. "We're extremely lucky that none of the cars contained toxic materials," says Chief Jim Mac-Gillivray of the Long Sault fire department.
"It could have been much worse," said Const. Bob Taplay of the OPP. One car came within 15 metres of a natural-gas distribution centre,
Five derailed cars carrying paper products caught fire and kept local firemen on the scene until late this morning. They were aided by firemen from nearby St. Andrews and Cornwall.
"The train began to sway from side to side and there were sparks coming from one of the cars," said Bill Ver-milyea, a passing Brighton motorist. "Then it buckled and a huge ball of fire came from one of the cars."
Local officials said there is also an unconfirmed report that riders on an east-bound passenger train saw sparks coming from the bottom of a boxcar.
They also said broken rail ties at the derailment scene indicate undercarriage problems.
Ottawa Citizen 4 April 1986
VIA passengers bussed while crews clear derailment
LONG SAULT - CN officials hoped to reopen one of the company's two main-line tracks between Montreal and Toronto today after moving 20 freight cars that derailed here Wednesday.
"Our first priority is to be able to resume service," says Mike Matthews, CN spokesman.
Since the derailment, CN freight trains have been using CP track between Montreal and Brockville.
Train passengers travelling between Toronto and Montreal weren't as lucky. VIA officials provided them with buses between Montreal and Brockville.
Although investigators haven't yet pinpointed the cause of the derailment, it is suspected a broken wheel axle caused 20 boxcars in the middle of the 147-car train to jump the track shortly after 9 p.m.
The westbound train derailed at the Avonmore Road crossover.
Witnesses said they saw sparks coming from the wheels of one boxcar seconds before the freight cars began to buckle and collide at the railway crossing.
Five of the derailed cars loaded with rolls of fibreboard burst into flames and kept smouldering for more than 12 hours.
"But we had it under control within half an hour," said Long Sault Fire Chief Jim MacGilliv-ray, whose volunteer firemen were assisted by their counterparts from nearby St. Andrews.
"We're extremely lucky that none of the cars contained any toxic materials," said MacGilliv-ray, pointing to the cluster of nearby homes and the Long Sault Yarns plant.
"Everything shook so much that I thought it was an earthquake," said Dean Alguire, whose home backs on the derailment site.
Const. Bob Taplay of the OPP said the train's four-man crew, two riding in the front and two in the caboose, were not injured.
One derailed boxcar ended up about 150 feet from a fenced natural gas depot.
Although no one was hurt, the derailed cars were badly damaged. A 600-foot section of track was ripped up.
An estimate of the damage isn't available yet.
All but two of the 20 derailed cars were loaded with fibreboard rolls. One carried aluminum ingots and the other was empty.
"It will probably take us mrougn me weenena 10 ciear up and repair the second line," says Matthews.
Ottawa Citizen 5 April 1986
Overheated bearing blamed in derailment
LONG SAULT - An overheated wheel bearing caused the 20-car freight .train derailment here Wednesday that blocked the two main CN tracks between Montreal and Toronto for 38 hours.
But CN information officer Jim Adamson said Friday, "We haven't yet determined the reason for the wheelbearing to overheat."
The defective equipment has been sent to the CN research centre in Montreal for analysis.
Meanwhile, CN work crews, aided by a huge crane from Montreal, cleared the smashed railway cars off the south track so some service could resume shortly before noon Friday.
The derailment forced CN to re-route its freight trains to the CP track between Montreal and Brockville.
Train passengers travelling between Toronto and Montreal weren't as lucky. VIA officials provided them with buses between the two centres.
"We hope to be able to resume normal traffic on both tracks as early as Monday," said Adamson. Until then there will be a slight delay to pass by the accident scene for the 24 passenger and freight trains that use the tracks daily.
No one was injured in the fiery derailment which occurred shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday in the northern sector of this bedroom community about 10 kilometres west of Cornwall.
Ottawa Citizen 28 August 1986
CN Rail givesLong Sault fire department Jaws of Life in thanks for derailment work
LONG SAULT - The local volunteer fire department has been presented with "Jaws of Life" rescue equipment by CN Rail to thank the firefighters for their work during an April derailment near here.
"They did excellent work and I was impressed by their actions and commitment," said Barry Lee, CN Rail superintendent for southern Ontario, in presenting the $20,000 device.
In praising local firefighters, Lee said the freight-train derailment could have been worse had a nearby gas line and pumping station been damaged.
A delighted Fire Chief Jim MacGillivray said the Jaws of Life, used to cut and pry wreckage, was the only major equipment his department lacked.
The derailment occurred shortly after 9 p.m. April 2 at the Avonmore Road crossing, blocking CN's main tracks between Montreal and Toronto for 38 hours.
Although no one was injured, 20 cars of the 139-car westbound train jumped the tracks and were damaged severely. CN investigators said the derailment was caused by an overheated wheel-bearing.
All but two of the derailed cars were loaded with fireboard rolls, and some caught fire. Of the other derailed cars, one carried aluminium ignots and the other was empty.
See also Bytown Railway Society Branchline May 1986 page 13