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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Multiple incidents of bear-spraying investigated

Police are investigating multiple incidents of people being bear sprayed on Sept.… Continue reading

Vancouver Island couple’s sheep farm dream disrupted by high lumber price

The solar powered farm project in Sayward will be set back by three years if the lumber price continues to remain high

Lumber hitting record high prices due to low supply and high demand

B.C.’s forest industry hasn’t been able to keep pace with the COVID-19 building boom

Police seeking whereabouts of 15-year-old Campbell River girl

Kali Pohlman was last seen near the 200 block of Evergreen Road in Campbell River

Gold River council raises concerns about Highway 28 with transport minister

Additionally, council has also asked ministry to look into increased traffic and parking needs due to tourism

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

‘Monkey Beach’ supernatural film adaptation premiers at VIFF

Based on Kitamaat author Eden Robinson’s debut, mystical novel

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

B.C.-born Trybe social media app’s award system connects with Nickelback singer

Rock stars, jet planes, scooter tricks and the creation of a new platform ready for launch

Most Read