Smoke billows up from a derailed Canadian Pacific Railway train near Guernsey, Sask., on Thursday, February 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Matt Smith

Calls for pipelines after fiery train derailment in Saskatchewan

Two derailments in less than two months occurred on the same set of tracks

The reeve of a Saskatchewan municipality where a second fiery train derailment has occurred in less than two months says it’s time for the federal government to look more seriously at pipelines to move oil.

Jack Gibney of the Rural Municipality of Usborne says “oil is going to move one way or another.”

“We have no choice.”

A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train carrying crude oil jumped the tracks near Guernsey, about 115 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon, early Thursday.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency said 32 of the train’s 104 cars derailed and a dozen caught fire, sending flames and thick, black smoke into the air.

The fire was burning Friday morning and the Transportation Safety Board said its investigators could not get to the wreckage as a result.

But the fire was out by late Friday afternoon and about 85 residents who were ordered to leave the agricultural community the day before were allowed back home by 4 p.m. local time, Gibney said.

“They had good response here as far as getting the fires out,” he said. “And the first train is going over the track already.”

Residents also gathered Friday in a town hall in nearby Lanigan, where they met with CP officials. Gibney said people appreciated the rail company’s efforts, but are still concerned about rail safety and the transportation of oil.

Another derailment about 10 kilometres away on the same set of tracks in December also caused a fire when 1.5 million litres of oil spilled.

After the second derailment Thursday, the federal government ordered lower speed limits for all trains carrying large amounts of dangerous goods.

Trains carrying oil move through Guernsey every hour, said Gibney, who added the track is busier than it’s ever been.

“We call it our Canadian pipeline here going by.”

Tom Lukiwski, Conservative MP for the area, said he believes pipelines are the safest way to transport crude oil and bitumen.

“This, I hope, will be a reminder to the government that they have to take a very hard and long look at increasing our pipeline capacity in this country.”

Ian Cameron, press secretary for Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, said in an email that Ottawa is focused on getting good projects built that are good for the economy while protecting the environment.

Alberta and Saskatchewan have been pushing for pipelines as a better option than rail to move landlocked oil to market.

Bruce Campbell is an adjunct professor at York University in Toronto and author of a book about the deadly Quebec Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in 2013. An explosion caused when tanker cars loaded with crude oil derailed killed 47 people.

Campbell said multiple factors contribute to derailments, including track deterioration and not adhering to speed limitations.

Risk factors are increasing as trains move faster and carry more cars, he said.

READ MORE: Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

“There needs to be a safety evaluation of the weight and length. They are getting longer and heavier, putting more pressure on the tracks.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Pipeline

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

Just Posted

Rockets’ Pavel Novak cracks central scouting list for upcoming NHL draft

Novak is ranked No. 85 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters

YMCA Okanagan offers care for children of essential service workers

Priority will be given to children aged 5 to 12 years old

Kelowna Rotary Club donates $50,000 for youth treatment program

The donation will support The Bridge’s Okanagan youth Recovery House project

Pink supermoon lights up night sky in North Okanagan-Shuswap

Largest and brightest full moon of the year was most visible on April 7

Nakusp and Kelowna businesses partner up to make face masks during COVID-19 crisis

The businesses expect to deliver their first set of masks on April 7 or 8

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

COVID-19: B.C. students describe life during pandemic

Most teens wonder what the future will be like after COVID-19

COLUMN: Local journalism more important than ever before.

Response to recent farm worker situation was concerning

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

COVID-19 self-isolation plan or quarantine, returning B.C. residents told

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read