In the wake of a massive freight train derailment in Saskatchewan Thursday the Canadian government issued an order to immediately slow down trains carrying goods considered potentially dangerous to health or the environment across the country.
A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train with a cargo of crude oil derailed about 6:15 a.m. about 70 miles southeast of Saskatoon. Thirty-one of 104 cars went off the tracks with nearly a dozen on fire.
Flames were still rising from the wrecked railcars Friday morning.
No injuries to the crew were reported, a statement issued by Canadian Pacific Railroad reports. However, the town of Guernsey, population 85, located near the accident was ordered evacuated.
“Immediately after the derailment, CP implemented a slow order on its crude trains as a precautionary measure as it gathers facts related to this incident,” the statement reads. “Transport Canada has issued a Ministerial Order, effective for thirty days at midnight on Friday, Feb. 7.”
Transport Canada is the department of the Canadian government responsible for regulations and policy regarding transportation.
That order requires a slowdown of “key trains” which contain 20 or more cars carrying dangerous goods. In metropolitan areas, these trains will be limited to 20 mph. Outside these areas, trains will be limited to 25 mph.
Canadian Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said the slowdown order is in response to a mounting number of derailments involving “dangerous goods” in the previous year. Dangerous goods are materials that pose a risk to health, safety and property when being transported.
“This is a precautionary measure being taken today, as we are seeing similarities between today’s accident in Guernsey, Saskatchewan, and other recent accidents such as weather conditions and speed,” Garneau said.
Thursday’s derailment is the second to happen on the same stretch of track within two months. About 19 cars of another CP train left the tracks on Dec. 9 about six miles west, also igniting a massive blaze and spilling more than 395,000 gallons of crude.