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New Brunswick crude-by-rail fire stokes safety debate

A Canadian National (CN) freight train derailed January 7, 2013 in northwestern New Brunswick (N.B.) while transporting crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas and other goods.


A Canadian National (CN) freight train derailed January 7, 2013 in northwestern New Brunswick (N.B.) while transporting crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas and other goods.

The latest derailment is the third time in recent weeks that a train carrying crude has caught fire. The latest accident also continues the spotlight on the dangers of crude-by-rail transport, most notably following the Lac-Mégantic derailment in July 2013, when 47 people died in crude-based fiery blasts.

Seventeen of the 122 train cars derailed in N.B., causing fireballs, but leaving no injuries in the area near Wapske, N.B. Five of the tankers carried crude and were on their way to Irving Oil’s refinery in Saint John, N.B.

Four other cars were carrying liquefied propane gas.

Early reports from the Transportation Safety Board have isolated a possible fault with the mechanics of the train’s braking system as the potential culprit of the derailment.

Approximately 150 people were evacuated from nearby homes as the fire burned at the accident site.

CN has said the only people on board the train—the conductor and engineer—have provided statements, but that information has not yet been released.


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