Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

VIDEO: Large-scale clean up of rail crash near Hope continues

Approximately 60 rail cars carrying potash derailed near Hope Monday morning

As of Tuesday, Sept. 15, crews were still involved in a large-scale clean up after a train derailment Sept. 14 near Hope.

Approximately 60 CP Rail cars carrying potash were involved in the derailment which happened along CN rail tracks on the southeast side of the Fraser River early on the morning of Sept. 14. The Transportation Safety Board was deployed to the site of the derailment, which occured along a rail bridge over Hunter Creek – a waterway that feeds into the Fraser River – adjacent to Highway 1 near Hope.

Hope Fire Department crews were first on scene after 4:30 a.m., responding to what was originally called in as a possible grass fire. Crews responded with two engines and two water tenders, fire chief Tom DeSorcy said, and started by locating the engine, the engineer, any crew as well as determining that the 200-car train was carrying potash and no other types of cargo.

The fire crew then called in the relevant authorities as they dealt with spot fires along the tracks. In an email to Black Press Media Monday morning, CN Rail confirmed there were “no injuries, fires, or dangerous goods” involved in the derailment.

A hazardous materials team was observed on scene Monday, as well as contractors carrying heavy machinery. At the site of the crash, the pink-coloured potash could be seen spilling from the train wreckage down onto the banks of the creek below.

CN confirmed potash entered the creek at the time of the derailment. “The spill has since been contained and removal has started with a vacuum truck,” a Tuesday statement read. The company added that up- and downstream water monitoring is taking place and containment barriers have been put up. After this immediate work is done, site remediation will go on for the next little while said spokesperson with CN rail Jonathan Abecassis.

A multi-agency response is ongoing at the site, a spokesperson with Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed. “It is not clear yet if this incident has any immediate or direct impact on migrating fish but spawning sturgeon habitat is nearby,” Leri Davies with Fisheries and Oceans stated via email, adding that two fishery officers were on site Monday and the situation is being assessed.

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.

Currently crews are working to remove rail cars, Abecassis said, which will be followed by track work and possibly bridge work as well. “Once that’s completed, we’ll be able to re-open. But at this point it would be too early to be able to give you an estimate,” Abecassis said.

Crews are working as “safely and as efficiently as possible to get it going again, while the site remediation work is also happening” Abecassis said. Crews need to work within COVID-19 pandemic guidelines, as well as work outside as air quality dips to high and very high risk levels due to wildfire smoke from the Western United States. As of Tuesday morning, Abecassis said he understands crews are safe to work outside but the situation is being monitored closely. “If there’s any adjustments that need to be made to protect the safety of our employees, we’ll be sure to make them,” he said.

In a Monday evening council meeting, mayor of the neighbouring District of Kent Sylvia Pranger cautioned residents that CP Rail tracks running through the community would see heavier traffic as a result of the derailment. MLA for Chilliwack-Kent stated Monday that rail traffic will be running both ways on the CP Rail line for around 40 hours.

In normal circumstances CP Rail tracks on the northwest side of the Fraser River carry trains in one direction up into the Fraser Canyon and Northern B.C., while the CN tracks on the southeast side of the river carry trains in one direction towards Vancouver.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, CN Rail confirmed.

– with files from Patrick Penner, Adam Louis

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

A net strung along Hunter Creek up from the crash site appeared to be a mitigative measure for fish in the river. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Mangled rail cars were temporarily placed under a highway bridge as crews worked to dismantle the wreckage from a Sept. 14 derailment of CN rail cars carrying potash. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy delays were experienced by westbound travellers along Highway 1 as crews worked to dismantle the wreckage from a Sept. 14 derailment of CN rail cars west of Hope. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Heavy machinery was used to dismantle and moved the wreckage from approximately 60 rail cars involved in a crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

The wreckage from a CN Rail derailment as seen from ahead of the crash Sept. 14. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Just Posted

The two sites in question included a number of commercial buildings, some of them currently boarded up. (Langley Advance Times files)
Deal to add Fort Langley land to Kwantlen reserve called off

Elders and a land advisory group within the KFN opposed the project

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

Dwain and Lillian Seymour discovered their Murrayville home was listed for rent without their knowledge as part of a scam. (Langley Advance Times/file)
Guilty plea in Langley rent fraud case

Arrested man admits to 14 criminal counts

Police boats were called in to search the Fraser River after a report that a plane had crashed where the river runs between Langley and Maple Ridge. (Shane MacKichan/Special to The News)
Investigation enters final phase, missing aircraft last seen over Fraser River

Small aircraft was carrying a student and instructor on June 6

Trinity Western University students Nyssa Morgan and Braedon Sunnes take their comedy improv night online for the world to see. (TWU/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: In year of uncertainties, Langley students try to lift spirits with laughter

TWU students brought 30-year-old comedy improv tradition online

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)
Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In August, Mary Foote took part in the Gutsy Walk to battle Crohn’s and Colitis

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Surrey teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

The many faces of Daon Glasgow. (Photos: Surrey RCMP)
Glasgow found not guilty of trying to murder transit cop in Surrey

Transit Police Constable Josh Harms was shot Jan. 30, 2019 at Scott Road SkyTrain Station

Most Read