Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

CP blasted by Calgary's mayor as bridge fails

Nenshi demands answers as railcars perch over Bow

  • Print

CALGARY -- Calgary's mayor says Canadian Pacific Railway has apologized for the chaos caused by a train that derailed after a bridge over the swollen Bow River failed Thursday.

Emergency crews were working to pump all of the oil products off six tanker cars that were teetering on the broken bridge.

Naheed Nenshi lashed out at the railway Thursday morning, saying he had concerns about the timing of the bridge inspection in relation to flooding that swamped the city. He also wondered why railways are exempt from municipal regulations.

Railways are under federal jurisdiction and are responsible for their own inspections.

"How is it we don't have regulatory authority over this, but it's my guys down there risking their lives to fix it?" Nenshi asked.

'Certainly once this crisis is over, I'll be looking for a lot of answers from a lot of people'

-- Calgary's Mayor Naheed Nenshi

"Certainly, once this crisis is over, I'll be looking for a lot of answers from a lot of people."

But on Thursday afternoon, after a conversation with CP (TSX:CP) CEO Hunter Harrison, the mayor softened his stance.

"He extended an apology to the citizens of Calgary for what has happened here," Nenshi said. "We both agreed, No. 1, our primary responsibility is to get this thing cleaned up and, No. 2, that we will work together much more and he reiterated safety in every community CP Rail runs through is a primary responsibility.

"I was happy to hear that commitment and now we'll see how well we're able to fix this problem."

CP (TSX:CP) issued a statement Thursday morning that said the bridge had been inspected on Saturday while the tracks had been examined Monday. However, Harrison later told reporters the bridge was inspected five times after floodwaters rose. And CP engineers at the scene said the bridge had actually been inspected 18 times since flooding began.

Harrison said it was "clearly" a failure of piers at the bottom of the river. The engineers blamed it on fast water scouring away gravel under the support.

"We couldn't have seen anything from an inspection on top unless there was severe movement as a result of the failure down below," Harrison said. "We would normally have probably put divers in to inspect, but the current was too fast. Somebody would have drowned if they had tried to go in there, plus the current was so fast, and it's so murky, you couldn't do an appropriate inspection."

Nenshi wondered if recent layoffs at CP had anything to do with the situation.

"I'll be very blunt. I'll probably get in trouble for saying this," Nenshi said. "We've seen a lot of people lose their jobs at CP over the last year. How many bridge inspectors did they fire?"

The company, however, said the number of bridge inspectors remained the same.

The derailed cars were carrying a product used to dilute raw oilsands bitumen. The product is also used as a solvent used in metal polishes, paint thinner, oil-based stains and paint. Five of the cars were full and one empty.

The bridge gave way after most of the train had crossed. Cars that were still on the tracks were pulled away from either end.

Acting Calgary fire chief Ken Uzeloc said crews had strung a cable through the railcars and secured it to another train carrying rocks so that if the bridge gave way, the cars wouldn't be carried down the river.

"The last thing we want is these cars floating down the river and causing problems downstream," Uzeloc said.

Crews were planning to pull another train along a parallel bridge so the cargo could be pumped off and the empty cars safely removed.

Bruce Burrell, Calgary's emergency management director, said the cars were not leaking, but booms were placed downriver in case of any spills.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2013 A17

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Glenn January won't blame offensive line for first loss

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google