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)

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)

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)

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)

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 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)

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)

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

Just Posted

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from CFB Comox was tasked to assist Arrowsmith Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in extracting an injured hiker off of Mount Arrowsmith on Jan. 17. Photo by Capt.Reg Reimer
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists in Mount Arrowsmith rescue

“The turbulent conditions … made the hoisting quite challenging.”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Most Read