From the Ottawa Citizen 13 March 2007
Kingston-area freight train incident to affect trains today, too
BY DEREK ABMA Ontario's environment ministry is looking into whether a Kingston waterway was contaminated by oil from a derailed train car that affected the plans of thousands of travellers between Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto yesterday.
Thirty-two of 142 cars on an eastbound freight train derailed at 5:50 am yesterday, said Canadian National Railway spokesman Jim Feeny.
VIA Rail cancelled all passenger trains between Ottawa and Toronto, and between Montreal and Toronto. Buses were used to transport passengers.
Normal operations were expected to resume this morning. One Toronto-bound train from Ottawa is to be replaced by a bus today.
VIA spokeswoman Catherine Kaloutsky said people could also opt to postpone their trips or get refunds.
VIA customers who took a bus between Ottawa and Toronto experienced delays of up to two hours, Ms. Kaloutsky said. She said about 3,000 customers were affected yesterday.
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. Mr. Feeny said the investigation could take "months and months."
There were no injuries, but several goods were spilled From the Princess Street bridge over the tracks, spectators could see several cars sprawled across the tracks and one sticking up from the ground at an angle of about 45 degrees.
Mr. Feeny said there was a derailed car that contained about 100,000 litres of light industrial oil He said the substance is used for lubrication in the cutting of steel and aluminum.
Michel Finn, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment, said an oil leak from the train car was stopped by afternoon. An unknown amount of the oil spilled into Cataraqui Creek, and samples of the water were taken.
"We're not expecting a significant impact on the environment at this point," he said.
Kingston police Const. Michael Menor said one of the derailed cars hit a natural gas line and caused a leak, but it was contained quickly.
Yesterday morning, some VIA passenger trains got as far as Belleville coming east, and Brockville travelling west. From there, passengers were transferred to buses. An eastbound group arriving in Kingston by bus at mid-morning said they were about two hours behind schedule.
"I'm trying to beat everyone to the taxis," Queen's University student Andrew Wald said in Kingston as he called a cab from his cellphone, frantic to make an exam he came in from Toronto to write.
Passengers travelling to Ottawa from Toronto were taking events in stride. After the derailment, passengers from Ottawa-bound train 42 were put onto buses at Toronto's Union Station by 10:30 a.m., an hour behind schedule. The first group of about 50 passengers arrived at the Ottawa train station at 3:15 p.m.
"It went surprisingly well," said Guelph resident Evan Ferrari. "All things considered, they got the buses together and off fairly quickly. It could've been a lot worse."
University of Ottawa business student Laura Aitchison said passengers were treated well. She received a voucher for half her ticket price, and free food and drink during the trip.
Further updates on passenger train service call 1-888-VIA-RAIL. CN freight service between Toronto and Montreal, which usually involves about 50 trains a day, was shut down for most of yesterday and was expected to resume incrementally late last nightl