By FREDERIC TOMESCO
BRUNSWICK (Bloomberg) -- A Canadian
National Railway Co. train carrying crude oil and propane
derailed in the eastern province of New Brunswick and sparked a
blaze that was still burning more than 12 hours after the
A helicopter is being brought in today to pinpoint what is
ablaze in the wreckage of the 122-car train that jumped the
tracks about 7 p.m. local time Tuesday near the town of Plaster
Rock, said Jim Feeny, a railroad spokesman. There are 14 cars
and a locomotive in the fire zone, Feeny said.
This morning, very soon, we will have aerial
surveillance, Feeny said by telephone. We will be
able to get ground forces in, safely, closer to the cars, and
determine exactly what is on fire. That will determine what we
and local authorities need to do to develop the response
Tuesday's accident and a Dec. 30 crude-train derailment in
North Dakota added to the attention on the risks of moving oil
by rail. As the US government weighs whether to approve
TransCanada Corp.s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, trains
are hauling more petroleum products amid a boom in shale-oil
The safety debate was punctuated by the runaway crude train
that exploded and killed 47 people in July in Lac Megantic,
Quebec, Canadas deadliest rail disaster in more than a
The fire in the Plaster Rock derailment was under control by
about 10 a.m. Wednesday, Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported,
citing an unidentified railroad spokesman.
No crew members or residents were injured, Feeny said. About
50 to 60 people were evacuated in a two-kilometer (1.2 mile)
radius of the accident, the New Brunswick government said, and
Canadas Transportation Safety Board dispatched a team to
Rail accidents involving dangerous goods are on the rise in
Canada, with 132 such cases in the first 11 months of 2013, a
19% jump from a year earlier, according to the safety board.
The previous five-year average was 124.
That increase came amid a decline in Canadian rail accidents
of all types. Through November, the tally of 883 marked a 5.7%
drop from a year earlier, and the previous five-year average
Canadian energy producers are backing proposals to move as
much as 1.1 million bpd by rail in the next three to five
years, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Thats up from 224,000 bpd last year, according to a
Peters & Co. report from August.
Canadian Nationals train originated in Toronto and was
heading for Moncton, New Brunswick, Feeny said. The cars were
bound for a variety of customers in eastern Canada,
he said, declining to be more specific. Canadian National has
an alternate line available until the eastern part of its
mainline has been cleared, he said.
Crude by rail is a fast-growing, if small, business for most
North American carriers.
Canadian Nationals revenue from crude oil shipments in
2013 probably amounted to about C$400 million, or 3% to 4% of
sales, CEO Claude Mongeau said at an investor meeting in
Toronto last month. The railroad may double its crude business
in the next two years, Mongeau said.
You can count on that, if we continue to move it
safely, Mongeau said Dec. 11.
Canadian National carried about 70,000 carloads of crude oil
last year, more than doubling 2012s tally and a 14-fold
increase over 2011, a slide presentation posted on the
railroads website. Four years ago, it didnt ship