LANIGAN, Sask. — The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) says Monday’s fiery Canadian Pacific Railway freight train derailment in Saskatchewan involved the estimated release of 1.5 million litres of oil.
The resulting fire forced the temporary closure of Highway 16 due to thick, black smoke.
The TSB says 33 oil tank cars and one hopper car derailed near Guernsey, 115 kilometres southeast of Saskatoon.
Of the derailed cars, about 20 were breached and spilled out product “and became engulfed in a large pool fire which burned for approximately 24 hours,” the board said Wednesday in a release.
“About 19 of the cars lost their entire loads releasing an estimated 1.5 million litres of product to either the ground or atmosphere.
“A more precise determination of the tank car damage and the amount of product released will be made as product is recovered and the investigation progresses.”
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The TSB said the derailed cars included a mix of Class 117R and CPC-1232 Class 111 tank cars.
Class 117R cars are an upgraded version considered to have improved safety features over the cars that were involved in the 2013 fatal explosion and fire in Lac Megantic, Que.
The TSB website says in 2015, Transport Canada announced that Class 111 tank cars (including the CPC-1232 tank cars) in flammable liquid service would be gradually phased out.
No one was injured and no waterways were affected by the Saskatchewan derailment, spill and fire.
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The TSB noted the findings are preliminary and subject to change.
The board said it has deployed six investigators to the site and all 33 tank cars will be examined in order to evaluate their performance.
Earlier this week, Saskatchewan’s public safety agency said there was no risk to the public.
It said damaged rail cars have been removed from the site and there are plans to transport the remaining cars when safe to do so.
Environmental protection officers were monitoring the site.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 11, 2019.