Trains started rolling again Thursday morning, after all traffic along a CN track near Hope was halted Monday following a crash involving a CP Rail train carrying potash.
Around 60 cars were involved in the derailment, which occured on a rail bridge west of Hope near Highway 1 in the early hours of Monday, Sept. 14. A large scale clean up operation began later that day, with crews removing the wrecked train cars and vacuuming up potash which had spilled out onto the tracks and down into a creek below the tracks.
The early morning crash on Monday, before 4:30 a.m., sent 60 of the 200 cars on a CP train carrying potash crashing into one another. Some landed in an ‘adjacent body of water’ CN stated and a portion of the rail bridge appeared to be damaged. The crash occured above Hunter Creek, which feeds into the Fraser River shortly past the rail bridge.
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.
A site remediation is ongoing and the spilled potash is being removed from the site CN Rail spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis confirmed. B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in an update on the spill response, stated sediment fencing and a containment boom are being installed. Plans for water sampling have also been developed, the ministry stated.
Multiple agencies are involved in the clean up effort, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada. “It is not clear yet if this incident has any immediate or direct impact on migrating fish but spawning sturgeon habitat is nearby and, as more information comes in, the situation will be assessed further,” spokesperson Leri Davies stated Sept. 15.
Abecassis added that engagement with First Nations and “local stakeholders” about the clean up will continue.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation, with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada having deployed to the site Monday.
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