Mayor David Raven expressed strong displeasure at the fact Revelstoke emergency services personnel were not notified of a derailment within city limits, and he said council will be taking up the issue with CP Rail officials.
“Emergency services should have been made aware of it at the time or very soon thereafter,” he told the Times Review. “I anticipate that we’ll be expressing some very strong concerns to CP Rail and the regulatory agencies that the city was not notified in a timely manner.”
The derailment took place just west of Highway 23 South as the train was heading west from Revelstoke at about 11:15 p.m on Wednesday, Sept. 10.
Several train cars could be seen lying on the banks of the track as crews cleaned up the mess on Thursday morning.
Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for CP Rail, said in an e-mail that four cars derailed.
“There were no injuries, no public safety issues and no environmental concerns,” she wrote. The track re-opened Thursday afternoon.
The derailed cars were intermodal shipping containers. Woodrow said she did not know their contents but there were no hazardous materials in the cars and nothing was spilled.
Chris Krepski, a spokesperson with the Transportation Safety Board, said it was the second through fifth car on the train that derailed.
“The TSB didn’t deploy an investigator to the site but we are following up with the company to gather some further information,” he said.
Rob Girard, Revelstoke’s fire chief and emergency program coordinator, first learned of the derailment when he was contacted by the Times Review Thursday morning. He said CP Rail had not reported the incident to him, a fact that has him concerned.
“We want to go out and look. We should know about it,” he said. “That’s pretty major in our community. We want to know, especially in light of what’s been going on in terms of train derailments.”
Girard attended the scene and said five containers derailed and that they were either empty or carrying hay. The discrepancy between Girard and CP Rail’s numbers is because one car was carrying two containers.
He prepared a report to council to let them know about the situation. The city also wasn’t notified about a 2010 derailment near McDonald’s and a 2011 derailment in Albert Canyon alongside the Illecillewaet River upstream of Revelstoke.
“The city doesn’t take this kind of stuff lightly,” he said.
Woodrow said the lack of notification was because there were no injuries, public safety issues, or environmental issues as a result of the derailment.
“We have our own emergency protocols which were immediately enacted and all safety precautions and measures were taken as we responded to the situation,” she said.
Raven said that wasn’t the point. “The fact the cars were empty and it was a benign incident is not the point. It was an accident in the city limits. If it was any danger at all, there were delays that were avoidable.”
The cause of the derailment is under investigation.