Two more CN derailments

Two derailments for CN in one day: seven empties jump the tracks in the Cheakamus Canyon north of Squamish (the fourth derailment in that area since August); and an auto carrier plunged off a trestle into the Fraser River between Richmond and Burnaby. B.C. opposition politicians are pissed, and CN’s argument that there are no connections between yesterday’s Cheakamus Canyon derailment and previous ones is increasingly farcical.

See previous entry: What’s up with CN?

Update, 12/7 at 7:55 am: CBC coverage of the second derailment.

Update, 8:05 am: More Globe and Mail coverage of the two derailments: “So far this year, CN has experienced 11 main track derailments on the former BC Rail lines, which is nearly double the five-year average of six derailments a year that BC Rail had prior to 2004.” And apparently the 80-car limit excludes trains with mid-train locomotives: the train that derailed in Cheakamus Monday had six engines and 125 cars.

Update, 4:50 pm: Another order from the federal transport minister: the 80-car limit now applies to all trains, even ones with distributed power in the middle of the train, between Squamish and Clinton.

Update, 9:00 pm: CBC News on the minister’s order. Is there any way to verify CN’s claim that it’s “the safest railway in North America”?

Update, 12/14 at 10:05 pm: Another order, this one upping the limit to 99 cars on trains with distributed power heading north (usually empty); there are some other restrictions and oversights. Bottom line, the feds are watching CN very closely along this stretch of track.

Update, 12/15 at 6:37 pm: Holy crap: 15 empties derailed last night on a short train near Fort St. James (on former BC Rail trackage, naturally). Not in itself significant, but you can bet that every single CN derailment, especially in B.C., will get media attention.