Via Rail train service on the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto route was halted Wednesday after a Canadian Pacific freight train derailed in Smith Falls.
Shortly after 1:30 p.m., five cars of a CP train derailed. One of the cars contained dangerous goods, but no leak was reported, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) said.
“There were no injuries, no environmental concerns, no leaks and no risks to the surrounding community or public as a result of the incident,” CP Rail spokesman Kevin Hrysack told CityNews.
The TSB, as well as CP officials, will be conducting an investigation into the derailment.
“We are doing a thorough investigation into not only the cause but what led to it,” Hrysack said.
Via said 10 trains and about 800 passengers were affected. Some trains are being replaced with buses for at least a portion of the trip.
Via spokesperson Mylene Belanger told CityNews the service interruption was expected to last until the end of the day, but it’s too early to tell whether morning service will be affected.
Several members of the media were onboard the delayed Via trains, including 680News senior business editor Mike Eppel.
“I was just on the train coming up to Ottawa for tomorrow’s budget,” he told CityNews. “We stopped in Brockville and that’s when we were told we would have to disembark the train and get onto a coach bus.”
Eppel said his train stopped at the Brockville Via station, making the transition from train to bus relatively smooth and keeping passenger frustration at a minimum.
“It’s actually been pretty well organized. (Via) has been very informative for the amount of information of what’s going on and they’ve been very prompt getting (bus) service here, simply because we are actually at a Via station, not in the middle of nowhere.”
However not all passengers were as lucky. Some quickly took to Twitter complaining that one of the buses transporting riders broke down several kilometres from the accident, while another complained that it took the company at least an hour to inform them of the problem.
Via said travel credits will be offered passengers affected by the interruption. As well, those wishing to cancel or modify their reservations “may do so, without charge, regardless of the type of fare paid.”
Passengers travelling on direct Toronto-Montreal trains in both directions, which do not pass through Ottawa, weren’t affected by the derailment.