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CN crews assess the damage at Pefferlaw - 4 Mar 2017 Heidi Riedner.
7 March 2017
Multi Agency Clean Up After Derail


Pefferlaw Ontario - While CN Rail continued its massive round-the-clock cleanup and investigation into the cause of Sunday's train derailment in the heart of Pefferlaw, the 03:00 accident was a scary wake-up call for Georgina residents who have been concerned over the issue of rail safety for years.
 
"It's scary," Lew Smith, who lives directly beside the tracks, said, echoing the sentiments of many Pefferlaw residents, adding the train could have come right through his house had it been travelling the other way.
 
CN spokesperson Patrick Waldron said Monday, however, "there were no injuries, no dangerous goods involved, or threat to the environment, or public safety," regarding the 14 rail cars on a southbound freight train that jumped the track at the main intersection at Pefferlaw and Station roads 5 Mar 2017.
 
Thankful that no hazardous materials were involved in the accident, mom Kristin Burrill was still overwhelmed at the sight of the twisted mass of derailed cars and track only a few metres from area homes and businesses.
 
"It's kind of scary that it's so close to home," said Burrill.
 
"I've been kind of expecting this to happen," John Bacon said.
 
"I've lived here 14 years and I know they (CN) are always working here. I worry about my friend who lives next door. It's concerning."
 
Waldron, however, cautioned against any speculation as to whether factors such as maintenance, switches, or speed were factors in the accident before the investigation is complete.
 
He also said there were no threats to public safety or the environment regarding the green powder-like substance that spilled from two of the damaged cars.
 
Waldron confirmed copper concentrate, a byproduct once copper ore has been mined and milled and used in the production of copper metal, did spill onto CN property, just west of the tracks but added it is not considered a hazardous material, it was quickly contained and hauled away from the site.
 
Ontario's Environment Ministry, who assisted with the cleanup, said no material spilled into any waterways and there were no observed impacts to surface water or local wells.
 
Specialized crews from as far away as Buffalo also assisted with the massive two-day, non-stop, cleanup to remove rail cars and rebuild the damaged track.
 
Most of the 80 plus car train was moved immediately after the accident.
 
Impressed by the well co-ordinated emergency response, including firefighters going door-to-door in the area to apprise residents of the situation, some still raised the issue of public safety concerning the CN track running approximately 18 trains per day transporting goods between Winnipeg and Toronto, as well as a propane tank located in close proximity to the intersection used to heat the railroad switch.
 
At a public meeting regarding rail safety and emergency response in May 2015, the tank's removal was at the forefront of the many issues raised.
 
That has also been the subject of Pefferlaw resident John Myette's three-year battle with CN and Transport Canada since it is "a disastrous accident waiting to happen," in his opinion.
 
Heidi Riedner.

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