ONTARIO--Two Rail Cars Leaking Sulfuric Acid After Trail Derailment

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Last updated: Tuesday 14 March 2000 NATIONAL NEWS

Two rail cars leaking sulfuric acid after train derailment in northern Ontario

TEMAGAMI, Ont. (CP) - At least 19 rail cars carrying a highly-corrosive chemical derailed and went into a creek Tuesday evening just south of this northern Ontario community. Police say two of 50 Ontario Northland Railway cars carrying undiluted sulfuric acid were leaking.

Neither of the train's two crew members were injured in the accident that police say happened when a bridge over the creek gave out.

The derailment, in a remote area about six kilometres south of Temagami, is accessible only by train, said Sgt. Dan Owca, with the North Bay provincial police detachment.

-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 14, 2000


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-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 14, 2000.

Last updated: Wednesday 15 March 2000

Acid spilled from derailed train tank cars leaked into beaver pond

TEMAGAMI, Ont. (CP) - A train derailment that dumped a highly corrosive chemical into a nearby beaver pond on Tuesday had clean-up crews scrambling to keep the acid from entering an adjoining lake.

Residents and guests of a bed and breakfast on Hornet Lake have been warned not to drink the water as a precaution. Twenty-nine Ontario Northland Railway tanker cars, 25 carrying sulphuric acid, derailed in a remote area about six kilometres south of this northern Ontario community on Tuesday afternoon.

Two of the cars ruptured and began leaking sulphuric acid when 17 tankers slid down a 10-metre embankment into the pond, officials said late Tuesday.

Sulphuric acid is highly corrosive and its fumes can cause lung damage.

Gravel to block a culvert linking the beaver pond with Hornet Lake, and crushed lime to neutralize the acid were being shipped to the site, Environment Ministry officials said.

The cause of the derailment hadn't been determined, a railway official said.

"Once it gets light we'll be able to have a look at the track damage, determine how extensive it is and how long it's going to take to repair," said Judy Cardoni, a spokeswoman for the railway.

"There are no residents in the immediate area."

Train engineer Glen Hay and conductor Brian Hager were not injured.

The accident occurred as transportation experts renewed calls for a safer rail system.

Harry Gow, president of the railway advocacy group Transport 2000, said Tuesday that Canada's railways badly need improved maintenance, training and investment.

Of particular concern is the country's so-called "dark territory" - long stretches of rural countryside that do not have train signals.

Two recent crashes involving passenger trains travelling through dark territory have focused the spotlight on the need for better signal systems.

In late January, a Via Rail passenger train bound for Halifax crashed into parked boxcars in Miramichi, N.B., leaving about 30 of the 141 people on board with mainly minor injuries.

Last spring, a switch set in the wrong position caused a Via passenger train to slam into the back of parked boxcars in Thamesville, Ont., killing two crew members and injuring 77 of the 183 people on board.

Tim Secord, spokesman for the United Transportation Union which represents rail workers, said he has written Ottawa asking for a public inquiry into rail safety.

Tuesday's accident occurred near Temagami, about 130 kilometres north of North Bay.

The site is accessible only by train, said Sgt. Dan Owca, with the North Bay provincial police detachment.

Owca said the track, which runs north through Cochrane to Moosonee, is likely to be closed for at least a week.

Cardoni said the accident would not affect the railway's Northlander passenger service between Toronto and North Bay. Passengers travelling north of North Bay will travel by bus until the line reopens.

The train was travelling southbound to North Bay, from Rouyn-Noranda, Que.

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-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), March 15, 2000.

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