Skip to main content

Smoke rises from a fire at the site of a CP Rail train car derailment, near Guernsey, Sask., on Feb. 6, 2020.

NAYAN STHANKIYA/Reuters

The Transportation Safety Board says its investigators have not found any mechanical defects on a train that derailed and spilled oil in rural Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Pacific Railway freight train jumped the tracks on Feb. 6 near Guernsey, about 115 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.

The accident sent flames and thick black smoke into the air and spilled 1.2 million litres of crude oil.

Story continues below advertisement

There were no reported injuries, but 85 residents were evacuated from the area for more than 24 hours.

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

The safety board said in a preliminary report that 32 of 104 tank cars carrying oil derailed and several cars were breached.

“A review of the locomotive event recorder download determined that the train was handled in accordance with regulatory and company requirements,” said the report released Friday.

It said there is significant interest in examining the tank cars because they became an industry standard after the deadly rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Que., in 2013.

Each tank car is to be cleaned and inspected, the agency said. Investigators are working with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and tank-car manufacturer Trinity.

Any tank car and track components of interest recovered from the derailment site will be sent to the agency’s engineering laboratory in Ottawa for analysis.

Story continues below advertisement

“Once site work is complete, all available information will be reviewed in order to make a more accurate assessment of the tank car damage sustained and the amount of product released,” the report said.

“This work will take some time.”

Shortly after the derailment, the federal government ordered lower speed limits for all trains carrying large amounts of dangerous goods. CP and Canadian National are limiting permits for shipments of dangerous goods.

The TSB said the amount of oil released from the most recent derailment hasn’t been determined, but Saskatchewan’s Environment Ministry said last week that 1.2 million litres of oil were spilled.

The agency said a more precise estimate of the amount lost will be available once site work is complete. It said it does not appear that any waterways were affected.

“The product appeared to be primarily contained in a large ditch between the rail line and Highway 16 to the north of the rail line.”

Story continues below advertisement

Reeve Jack Gibney of the Rural Municipality of Usborne, which includes Guernsey, has said there is concern in the agricultural community over the two spills.

He has said that people are also worried about the safety of rail transport for oil and have suggested it’s time to look to pipelines.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies