Cracked wheel, broken rail at Canada derailment

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2014 at 9:41 am •  Published: January 9, 2014

PLASTER ROCK, New Brunswick (AP) — Canada's Transportation Safety Board said Thursday a cracked wheel might have caused a train carrying oil to derail in New Brunswick, causing a large fire that continues to burn a day and a half later.

Lead investigator Guy Laporte said a crack in a wheel near the front of the train caused the wheel to loosen from the axel, resulting in the derailment of that wheel set.

But Laporte said it's too early to determine what caused the train to leave the tracks late Tuesday derailed in the sparsely populated region roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) from the U.S. border and northern Maine. No one was injured, but about 150 people living nearby were evacuated.

A Canadian National Railway spokesman, Jim Feeny, said the company believes a wheel and axle failure is the cause, based on its preliminary investigation.

Laporte said they also found a broken rail at the site, where 19 cars and a locomotive derailed.

Feeny said the priority is to extinguish the fire in three cars carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas.

The incident again raised concerns about the increasing use of rail to transport oil throughout North America. In July, 47 people were killed in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, when a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the middle of a small community.

A number of recent derailments in North America have worried both officials and residents close to rail lines. On Dec. 30, an oil train derailed and exploded in North Dakota, causing the evacuation of a nearby town but no injuries.