CN Rail train carrying petroleum derails in Alberta

Reuters

CALGARY, Oct 19 (Reuters) - A train carrying crude oil andliquefied petroleum gas derailed west of Edmonton, Alberta,causing an explosion and fire but no injuries, Canadian NationalRailway said on Saturday.

One rail car carrying liquefied petroleum gas exploded andthree others also caught fire. Emergency crews battled theflames and worked to prevent the burning cars from triggeringmore explosions, a municipal authority spokesman said.

Residents were evacuated from Gainford, Alberta, 85 km (53miles) from the provincial capital Edmonton, after the accident,which highlighted concerns in Canada about moving oil by rail.The community, part of the municipality of Parkland County, hasa population of just over 100 people.

"We have cars on fire right now and there was an explosionearlier this morning. The major priority right now for our guysout in the field is containing these fires," said ParklandCounty spokesman Carson Mills.

Rail safety has become a central issue in Canada since thederailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in July, when a runawaytrain carrying crude products exploded in the center of the townand killed 47 people.

In Alberta, CN Rail said initial indications are that 13cars had derailed in the accident involving the westbound train,which happened at around 1 a.m. There were no injuries, butlocal authorities evacuated people from the area as aprecaution, CN spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin said in an email.

Nine of the 13 derailed cars nine were carrying liquefiedpetroleum gas and four carried crude, said Mills. The crude oilcars were intact and contained away from the fires with noindications of any leaks. CN Rail had earlier said there werefour liquefied petroleum gas and nine crude oil cars.

Mills said 49 people had registered at the emergencyevacuation center and would not be allowed to return home for atleast 24 hours.

The main east-west highway traversing central Alberta wasclosed for at least 24 hours.

Canada's Transportation Safety Board said it has sent a teamof investigators to the site.

This is the third CN accident in recent weeks. Earlier thisweek, a CN train carrying anhydrous ammonia derailed inSexsmith, Alberta.

A CN freight train derailed near the town of Landis, in thewestern Canadian province of Saskatchewan, on Sept. 25, sending17 cars off the track, one of which leaked lube oil.

On Thursday, the Canadian government imposed new regulationsrequiring tests to be conducted on crude oil before transportingor importing it into Canada. In the Lac-Megantic crash, inspectors determined that the oil the train carried was moreexplosive than labeled.

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