Saint-Polycarpe, QC. — Quebec’s public security minister offered assurances Tuesday that nothing leaked into a nearby river after a Canadian Pacific freight train derailment just east of the Ontario border.
The Quebec Environment Department says 25 of the 95 rail cars derailed near Saint-Polycarpe on Monday night, but officials said there were no injuries or evacuations.
Canadian Pacific teams were working Tuesday to re-establish traffic on the rail line, which is used to transport goods between Montreal and Vancouver.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, who visited the site of the derailment Tuesday, said “the situation was firmly under control, there were no leaks and at no moment was the safety of the population compromised.”
“A rail line has to be repaired, but before everything else, the tanker cars with dangerous materials have to be emptied and then removed,” he added.
“These operations will be done with the maximum of precautions…in the best interests of the safety of the people who live nearby and to avoid any leaks that could damage the environment — particularly the water.”
Saint-Polycarpe Mayor Jean-Yves Poirier said Tuesday that one tanker car containing propane fell into the Delisle River. Four other propane tankers as well as rail cars that contained diesel fuel and vegetable oil ended up on the embankment.
“It could have been disastrous,” he added.
Fire Chief Michel Belanger told reporters that any risks were eliminated Monday evening.
“There was actually no danger — either to residents or to the firefighters who intervened,” he said.
It’s not known yet what caused the derailment and investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada were on the scene.
Lucie Charlebois, the local member of the legislature who was on the scene Monday and Tuesday, said freight trains should slow down in densely populated sectors or at level crossings.
“There’s still work to be done,” she said.
But one TSB investigator indicated Tuesday the normal speed is 65 kilometres an hour and that the train was travelling at 55 kilometres an hour.