Skip to main content

Investigators and workers go over the scene where a CN train derailed west of Edmonton near Peers, Alberta, on Nov. 3, 2013. Thirteen cars derailed early Sunday morning, with 12 carrying lumber and one carrying sulphur dioxide.JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Thirteen train cars – including one carrying hazardous materials – derailed in Alberta on Sunday, not far from where several caught fire and exploded on another train two weeks ago, though this time there was no danger, Canadian National Railway Co. said.

CN said the cars on the eastbound train jumped the tracks in the central Alberta hamlet of Peers at about 1 a.m. Twelve were loaded with lumber and one was hauling sulphur dioxide, a toxic substance used to make sulphuric acid that can also be used as a food preservative.

The car with the sulphur dioxide is upright and not leaking, CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said in an e-mail. There were no evacuations.

"There were no injuries or environmental concerns as the car is intact, and there is no threat to the public," Mr. Waldron said.

Crews are on site and the incident is under investigation, he said. The train had 137 cars in total.

On Oct. 19, 13 tankers cars on a CN train carrying propane and oil derailed near Gainford, Alta., about 80 kilometres east of Peers, triggering explosions and fire on both sides of the four-lane Yellowhead Highway. Crews opted to let the tankers burn, which kept 126 people out of their homes for four days.

That incident renewed fears about shipping petroleum by train, a practice that has surged in use over the past two years as the energy industry has struggled to move production while new pipelines drag in regulatory processes.

Train traffic on CN's main line was halted after the derailment on Sunday. Crews were working to clean up the site and traffic was expected to resume sometime in the evening, Mr. Waldron said.