This Section of The Rattler is devoted to keeping an eye on trains as they impact our community. You are invited to submit open letters, articles, videos, links, photos, etc. in this regard.

Postings are listed in chronological order with newest at the top.

Lac-Mégantic MMA Train Accident - 6 July 2013

July 23, 2018 Fire on eastern edge of Spences Bridge apparently train sparked.



January 14, 2017 CP derailment sends coal into Thompson River

January 13, 2017 TSB investigating after coal train goes off rails near Ashcroft, B.C.

September 8, 2015 Train whistle ends in McLure.

July 25, 2015.
Rules for the Control and Prevention of Fires on Railway Rights-of-Way


July 23, 2015. Transportation Act Review video submission by Dwayne Rourke here.

July 22, 2015. Recent fires along CN tracks spark a review of past Spences Bridge citizen action. Here.

May 23, 2015. Metro Vancouver to formally oppose Trans Mountain pipeline but Belcarra's mayor says opposing the pipeline could make movement of oil more dangerous. Read CBC interview here.

May 6, 2015. Train carrying oil erupts in flames, town evacuated in North Dakota.

The latest incident is 9th train derailment in the US and Canada since 2013. It comes as the US government is on the path to imposing fresh set of laws on rail deliveries of crude oil and other fluids that are flammable. Read complete article

April 28, 2015. RABBLE.CA ARTICLE: Crude oil transportation: A danger on Canada's rails. Read article here.


April 20, 2015. Train derailment south of McLure. Read story here.

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March 19, 2015. How many explosions before we stop crude-by-rail? There have been FOUR oil train derailments in North America over the past month. Read complete source article with hyper-links here.

March 9, 2015.
Huge fire: Train carrying crude oil derails in Canada. “Canadian train tracks are expected to carry 700,000 barrels of oil a day by next year, up from less than 300,000 in 2009.” Read complete article here.

March 8, 2015. Gogama derailment is third Ontario CN rail disaster in a month. Thirty five oil tanker cars go off rails — 5 of them into the Makami River. Read CBC source article here.

January 28, 2015. Ontario government sues CN rail for millions in firefighting costs.

The province is seeking compensation from Canadian National Railway over four forest fires in 2012, including $38 million for a massive fire near Timmins.

The province is alleging the fires were started by passing trains. The other three court actions involve another fires near Timmins, Chapleau and Thunder Bay. The damages sought in those cases are between $1 million and $2 million each.

The $38 million court action involves a fire called Timmins 9 in May of 2012.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry alleges the fire was started by the passage of a train through the area. The fire burned 40,000 hectares of bush and destroyed several camps.

The fire was the largest one in the province in half a century, and came within about 20 kilometers of the City of Timmins.

Read complete article

January 13, 2015. Rail and Reason posts announcements re Railway noise investigations. Read here.

December 9, 2014. Railway Companies’ Bottom Line Continues to Trump Safety

In spite of local municipalities, fire departments and other first responders, politicians and rail safety experts pressing Transport Canada and Canadian rail companies to provide real-time information on what dangerous goods railways are moving through our cities, towns and villages, Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway and Transport Canada refuse to provide these data (Toronto Star). The information is essentially kept secret until an accident occurs, which is often too late.

Groups like Safe Rail Communities* think any information that would make our rails safer should be made public, particularly following last year’s disastrous derailment, spill, fires and explosions that killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. And the situation is getting worse, as Canadian rail companies transport more and more dangerous, hazardous, toxic and flammable goods across Canada, including crude oil.

Transport Canada does not even require railways to disclose their insurance coverage in the event of accidents because that information is considered commercially sensitive. Nor does Transport Canada release information on track maintenance and inspection reports, as they contain what rail companies consider third-party and commercial information. Transport Canada has repeatedly been criticized for letting the rail industry monitor its own safety.
When asked about the secrecy surrounding rail company emergency plans, York University associate professor Mark Winfield said, “The issue again goes to basic issues of accountability and the balance between the economic interests of the railways and the safety interests of the public being struck in the plans.” Peggy Nash, NDP MP for Parkdale-High Park said the Lac-Mégantic tragedy shone a light on Transport Canada’s “lack of enforcement and poor safety culture”. People have lost trust in the government systems designed to protect the public, she said.

As long as Transport Canada continues to let rail companies’ bottom line trump rail safety, the public and the environment will continue to be subjected to derailments and associated spills, fires and explosions.

*Visit the Safe Rail Communities website at this link.


November 21, 2014. (From the archives) In the summer of 2012, a call went out to the village of Spences Bridge asking for volunteers willing to be interviewed about their experience of living in a town with trains coming and going throughout the day and night. Subsequently, thirteen people volunteered to share their thoughts as requested.

Using audio-visual equipment made available to the community by the Spences Bridge Community Club, Dwayne Rourke filmed, edited and produced an hour and 22 min. video record of what these folks had to say. Also included are various encounters Dwayne had with trains passing through Spences Bridge.

November 21, 2014. (From the archives) CP Rail derailment, Thompson River Valley, BC.On November 21, 2012 a landslide caused the derailment of 5 grain cars cars from a west bound CP train just east of Lytton.

November 21, 2014. TRAINTALK: Spences Bridge Speaks 2. Spences Bridge, BC, farmer James Kohut share his thoughts about the impact of trains in the Thompson River Valley and beyond. He proposes the use of tunnels as an alternative to having railways run in close proximity to fishe-bearing rivers like the Thompson and the Fraser.

November 18, 2014. TRAINTALK: Spences Bridge Speaks 1. The first of a series of interviews with local residents regarding the impact of trains on their lives. James Kohut speaks his mind on the issue of train-sparked fires.

November 9, 2014. Mudslide Causes Iron Ore Co. of Canada derailment in Quebec.


November 6, 2014: Efforts halted to find missing operator of derailed freight train.

November 8, 2014: Body of train engineer recovered from wreckage in Sept-Iles.

September 23, 2014. Federal Government Launches Review of Canada Transportation Act. A Critical Opportunity For Citizens to Voice Their Opinions About Current Railway Noise and Vibration Regulations

September 1, 2014. Documentary: The Crude Gamble of Oil.

July 30, 2014. LOCAL CN TRAIN DERAILMENT ON CP TRACK. Photos by Dwayne Rourke