Cleanup underway after 26 cars carrying potash derailed near Craven, SK, blocking Highway 20


On Tuesday, a quiet night of playing cards with his family ended for the mayor of a small village in Saskatchewan.

A screeching noise was the first indication of a derailment of a CP Rail train that cut off Highway 20, just south of Craven, Sask., Since 9 p.m. CST. The train was carrying potash.

“I looked through my binoculars and what I saw, basically, was a whole bunch of sort of accordion crumpled train cars,” said Scott Montgomery, the mayor of Craven, located at approximately 30 kilometers northwest of Regina.

He immediately called 911 and, as a volunteer firefighter, was dispatched to the scene.

A train derailment near Craven, about 30 kilometers northwest of Regina, on December 28 blocked Highway 20. No injuries were reported. (Brian Rodgers / CBC News)

The derailment caused no injuries, totaling 26 cars.

Montgomery says his team quickly set up traffic control to distract people from the scene.

In a statement, CP Rail officials confirmed they were investigating the cause of the derailment and that there were no public safety concerns.

Cars piled up after a major derailment near the village of Craven, about 30 km northwest of Regina. (Village of Craven)

Austin Van Cryen was returning from work around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when he came upon the scene.

“I walked up to the railroad tracks and saw this huge hill there that I had never seen before, and everyone stopped. The train lights were on. And so I turned on my lights. lights and then there was a huge pile-up of the trains, “he said.

Van Cryenest estimated the number of derailed cars to be in double digits. He said he saw piles of pink dust around damaged cars.

These dust piles have since been confirmed to be a significant amount of potash. The substance, mainly used in fertilizers, was transported by a CP Rail freight train.

Crews clean up potash that spilled from broken freight cars following a train derailment near Craven. (Brian Rodgers / CBC News)

Canpotex, a Canadian potash export and marketing company, has confirmed that the derailed cars are owned by the company. They directed all other requests to CP Rail.

The Transportation Safety Board said it was continuing to assess the situation and confirmed that there were no injuries and that no dangerous goods were spilled.

No potash would have entered the nearby Qu’Appelle River.

In a Facebook post, the village of Craven asked people to avoid the area to allow emergency crews to work.

The Lumsden Fire Department responded to the scene and cleared him of any “additional danger,” the service said in a statement.

The fire department was eventually relieved by officials from CP, who the company said were dispatched as soon as it was alerted to the derailment.

Cleaning continues on Wednesday

CP crews were still cleaning up the derailment site on Wednesday afternoon. The spilled potash was collected in a large pile near the accident site.

Highway 20 at Craven remains at least partially blocked, although some vehicles may have passed through the rail section this morning. However, the Village of Craven has said traffic is expected to be very slow.

Village officials continue to advise travelers to or from Regina to use Highway 99 or Highway 6 as an alternate route.

Craven has a population of approximately 210 people. The village is best known as the site of the annual Country Thunder music festival.


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