Leaders of Magnetawan First Nation in northern Ontario are working closely with CP Rail as it investigates what could have been a disastrous derailment in the nation’s traditional territory on Friday January 22.
The derailment closed Highway 529, which leads to Magnetawan, one of 39 communities comprising the Anishinabek Nation.
“Hwy 529 will be closed until clean up is done around 8pm,” said Magnetawan First Nation Chief Diabo in a statement. “We aren’t completely cut off, but emergency services—police, ambulance and fire—are aware of the road block and know to go around.”
In this case, four cars jumped the tracks but did not tip over. They were carrying lumber, train parts and empty tankers, Diabo said. Authorities said people should steer clear of the area until cleanup was done because of the heavy equipment involved.
“We are fortunate that there is no risk and this is not a major disaster as it could’ve been,” Diabo said. “Speaking with the CP Rail, there will be an investigation and a report issued to our community as soon as they are done with it.”
Although this derailment did not involve oil trains or fatalities, it added to consternation over the use of trains to transport hazardous materials, which has come under scrutiny after a string of accidents. Most notably, in Canada, was the 2013 crash that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, when the brakes failed and the 47-tanker train careened into the center of the 6,000-person town.
Such incidents are becoming more and more common, the Quinault Nation has noted in numerous instances.