At approximately 12:55 a.m. on the morning of Nov. 23. an empty grain train operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway jumped the track and derailed near Hell’s Gate B.C. , about a 40 minute drive north of Hope. Rail officials said the derailment was caused by a landslide south of North Bend, B.C.
CP Rail reported that they immediately implemented its emergency response protocols and mobilized teams to the site. Due to challenging conditions in the area as a result of the inclement weather and hazardous terrain, response crews continue to work with a singular focus on safety.
The incident was first made public today (Nov. 24) when the B.C. Environmental Emergency Program posted the information online when they reported the derailment and the fact that NUCOR Environmental Response Officer (EERO) was deployed to the site of the derailment to monitor spill response activities and assess potential environmental impacts.
Nuucor was unable to complete their assessment yesterday (Nov.23 and went back to the site at 8 a.m. Friday morning.
At that time they discovered a small hole in the vent line of the train engine’s fuel tank. Fuel was leaking from the hole and into the Fraser River below.
Emergency Management B.C. reported that the hole was immediately patched (on a temporary basis) and the spill was stopped. Officials on site were unable to say whether the leak had started at the time of the previous day’s derailment or had occurred at some time thereafter as a result of pressures on the fuel tank resulting from the derailment.
No estimate of how much fuel may have spilled are available at this time.
Two empty grain cars ended up laying on top of the train’s engine and while the first was removed on Thursday evening, the second is currently being removed.
Affected First Nations have been updated on the situation and will continue to be notified of ongoing response actions.
CP Rail has stated emphatically that there is no threat to public safety and that they continue to monitor the situation and will work to mitigate any damage as a result of the diesel leak from the engine.