Safety board launches train derailment investigation

The Transportation Safety Board is launching a full investigation into the derailment of  four train cars last week at Scotford Yard that spilled 99,000 litres of a flammable, toxic liquid.

The CP train derailed at the Scotford Yard, near Range Road 215 at about 3:25 p.m. on Dec. 8. One of the derailed cars rolled down an embankment and spilled all of its contents into a ditch.

The product spilled was styrene monomer, a moderately toxic, highly flammable and highly-reactive chemical used in plastic products.

The other three trains did not spill any product. There were no injuries.

“We have decided to launch a full-blown board investigation,” said Dan Holbrook, Transportation Safety Board regional manager head office and western regional operations.

“In this circumstance it may not be that difficult to determine what happened, it’s more why it happened.”

The Transportation Safety Board is in the process of determining if there are any environmental repercussions to the spill.

“They’ve removed the product and are now having an analysis of the sub-grade soil underneath to see how much of it may have leaked through,” Holbrook said.

“The ground was frozen, but they’re doing that analysis now to know what else they need to do to remediate the site.”

The product was initially spilled as a liquid, but hardened over several days.

“That makes it easier for its removal after,” Holbrook said.

“Clearly you would only elect to allow (clean up) to happen if you were pretty sure that it wasn’t seeping into the sub-grade (soil).”

The derailment occurred during a “switching assignment,” which means the 38-car train was likely being moved onto a different track at the time. Holbrook said he expects the investigation to be complete and for results to be released publicly within a year to 450 days.

—With files from Postmedia Network

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