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Train Loaded With Crude, Propane Derails in New Brunswick

Several cars of a Canadian National Railway (CN) train, including some loaded with crude oil and propane, derailed and caught fire in New Brunswick on Tuesday night.

According to media reports, the derailment occurred at about 7 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (AST) in Wapske, located just south of the village of Plaster Rock, in Victoria County. There were no injuries.

During a press conference Wednesday in Plaster Rock, CN CEO Claude Mongeau said 17 of 122 cars on the train derailed. He said five cars were loaded with crude oil, while another four were carrying propane.

"My first words would be to apologize to the citizens of Plaster Rock for the inconvenience," Mongeau said, according to CBC News. "The fire is our first priority at the moment. Dealing with it, we have the equipment, we have the people and we have all of the procedures in place to deal with it in a safe manner."

In a statement, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said it had deployed a team of investigators to the site and said the derailed cars also included a locomotive and a hopper car. The TSB added that there have been reports of explosions at the site. Its investigators were to arrive mid-day Wednesday.

"The site is currently under the control of the local fire department," the TSB said, adding that its investigators "will access the site when it is safe to do so. The team will evaluate the accident and document the derailment site, inspect the equipment and track infrastructure and identify any items that may require closer inspection. They will examine the maintenance history of the train, operation of the equipment and operation policies, meteorological conditions, and review any human factors."

The train was reported heading east from Toronto to Moncton, NB. CBC News said the ultimate destination for the crude oil and propane was the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, NB. It was unclear where the crude oil and propane originated from. A spokesman for CN did not return a call Wednesday.

Nine days ago, a BNSF train carrying Bakken Shale crude oil near Casselton, ND, exploded and burned after smashing into another train that had derailed earlier (see Shale Daily, Dec. 31, 2013). Last July, a train carrying Bakken crude in Quebec derailed and exploded, killing at least 42 people (see Shale Daily, July 9, 2013).

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