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Canadian National Railway Co. is investigating after a train derailed while being pushed to the Invista Canada Co. plant Wednesday morning, spilling a solid acid product onto the tracks.
The eight rail cars rolled off the tracks just south of Bath Road at roughly 11:20 a.m. Emergency services were called to the incident by witnesses shortly thereafter.
Kingston Police closed the eastbound lanes of Bath Road at Centennial Drive and the westbound lanes to Queen Mary Road at Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard. Unaware of what the spilled product was at the time, police instructed residents in the immediate area to stay inside their homes.
CN Rail spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis said in a statement that the product was adipic acid from just one of the cars.
“There are no injuries or fires and there is no danger to public safety or the environment as the minimal amount of product which was spilled from one railcar is contained to CN’s property and did not contaminate any source of water,” Abecassis said.
“The product, adipic acid, is a solid industrial product commonly used in food and to make everyday household items such as nylon.”
The smell of the product initially floated through the air, and Kingston Police officers near Bath Road and Queen Mary Road said they could taste it. At 4 p.m., they told residents it was safe to leave their homes.
Brittany Bark witnessed the train derailment from her apartment. She said the train was moving on the tracks past her building when it derailed shortly after the crossing on Bath Road.
“We saw the whole thing come down when we went to the window,” Bark said, adding that it was the first train she’d seen pass her place since the Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades.
CN Rail officials arrived at the site in the mid-afternoon.
“Invista will support the CN railway and local authorities as they continue to assess next steps to safely clear the tracks,” Paul Brown, communications for Invista Canada Co., said.
“We thank the first responders for their quick actions and appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation.”
The city wrote on social media that Bath Road would likely be closed for the rest of Wednesday and Thursday. They added that the city’s environmental services team is monitoring the situation.
Kingston Transit said a number of bus routes were detoured. Tri-Board Student Transportation Services said on social media that roughly 50 school buses pass over the tracks every school day.
“Students on these buses will enjoy a more circuitous and ponderous trip home today, and should expect delays and rerouting tomorrow until the train cars are righted and removed,” the agency said.
A spokesman for Kingston Police said the track in question is a “spur line” that branches off the main corridor to serve a single client.
On Dec. 5, 2004, seven cars derailed at roughly the same location. There were no injuries and none of the cars overturned. They were carrying the corrosive hexamethylene diamine, an ingredient in nylon, but none of it leaked out.
The Whig-Standard reported at the time that more than 30 CN workers spent about 15 hours over two days cutting away splintered ties and twisted metal rail, replacing it with preconstructed 12-metre sections of railway.
A large crane was brought in from Toronto and specialized bulldozers were rented to right the derailed containers. While the bulldozers pushed and lifted the stray 100-tonne railcars, the crane hoisted them back onto the tracks.
Abecassis said the cause of Wednesday’s incident is still under investigation and they apologized for “the inconvenience caused by this incident.”
This article first appeared on www.thewhig.com
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