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No injuries at train derailment near Field, B.C.

There were no injuries after an intermodal car from a CP freight train derailed in Field, B.C. Saturday morning.

FIELD, B.C. – There were no injuries after an intermodal car from a CP freight train derailed in Field, B.C. Saturday morning.

A spokesperson for Canadian Pacific Railway said the derailment was cleaned up, but the crossing was blocked for several hours.

The investigation into the cause of the derailment is ongoing, Salem Woodrow, CP Rail's manager of communications, said in a statement.

The release said it took place at about 5:45 a.m. near the East 2nd Street crossing and CP crews were immediately dispatched.

"After all track repairs were made and safety inspections complete, CP reopened the rail line to freight traffic this morning," the release stated. 

The derailment is one of the latest in the region.

A train carrying grain derailed on Jan. 26 roughly 6.5 kilometres to the west of Field and also temporarily knocked out power to the town. There were no injuries.

A derailment early in 2019 near Field had three people die when it went off the tracks at the Spiral Tunnels east of Field. The RCMP launched a criminal investigation into the derailment last December.

In February 2019, there was a major grain train derailment in Banff National Park about seven kilometres west of Banff. The derailment had 21 cars come off the tracks along a 300-metre area.

Since 2000, there have been at least 18 grizzly bears who have been killed on train tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks. A male wolf was killed by a train near Vermillion Lakes on Feb. 11, with Parks Canada saying at the time at least 10 wolves had been killed on train tracks in the past decade.

In January, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada released a follow-up to an audit on rail safety.

The 32-page report was following up on selected recommendations from their 2013 report on ways to improve rail safety following the Lac-Megantic, Quebec derailment that killed 47 people.

According to the report, there were 1,245 accidents involving trains in 2019. Of those, 694 – 56 per cent – were derailments. There were 72 deaths involving trains in 2019, per the report.

The report highlighted concerns and said the past 14 years have led to several recommendations to Transport Canada to look at the “effectiveness of railway companies’ safety management systems.”

Calls to the Lake Louise and Golden fire departments confirmed neither were needed for the scene.

Field Fire Rescue – a volunteer service – stepped back from road rescues along the Trans-Canada Highway late in 2020 during extended negotiations with Parks Canada.

The volunteer service would continue to respond to structure fires, but there are continued calls for Parks Canada to strengthen their fire department such as hiring a full-time fire chief to improve services and take pressure off the volunteer firefighters.

The fire department has been dealing with a growing number of emergency calls due to increased visitation, leaving significant time demands and extra administrative work.

- With files from Cathy Ellis