VIA remote-service train derails near WInnipeg; five injured

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VIA_Derailment
VIA Rail Canada's train from Churchill, Manitoba, to Winnipeg derailed on Tuesday, injuring five people on board.
Manitoba RCMP, via Twitter

KATRIME, Manitoba — VIA Rail Canada’s remote-service train from Churchill, Man., derailed Tuesday morning near Winnipeg, sending two passengers and three crew members to the hospital.

Train No. 692 derailed at 6:44 a.m. at milepost 20.21 on Canadian National’s Gladstone Subdivision, about 78 miles west of Winnipeg. A CTV News video shows the two lead locomotives on their sides and a baggage car pulled off the track but upright.

VIA Rail Canada spokesman Karl-Phillip Marchand Giguere tells Trains News Wire, “First responders reached the site quickly to attend to the eight passengers and five crew members. There were no major injuries, but two passengers and three crew were taken to a hospital for medical attention and have all since been released.” All passengers and crew were taken to Winnipeg by bus.

When it derailed on the CN branch west of Portage la Prairie, Man., the train was running more than 15 hours late after spending most of the previous day in the station at The Pas, Man. Giguere did not provide a reason for the long delay.

Giguere adds, “Information available at this time indicates there was a minimal amount of fuel leakage from one of the locomotives. VIA Rail is collaborating with the infrastructure owner as well as the authorities to determine the cause of the incident, which is currently under investigation.” The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

The four trailing passenger cars included two coaches, a Skyline dome lounge used as a diner, and a Chateau-series sleeping car.

The train’s light passenger load isn’t unusual on the portion of the route south of Thompson, Man., which is the northernmost point for all-weather highway travel.

VIA previously provided three weekly round trips over the entire route, but cut that back to twice weekly between The Pas and Winnipeg when permanent slow orders on CN trackage south of The Pas would have required VIA to provide an extra equipment set.

As a result of the derailment, Tuesday’s scheduled departure of train No. 693 out of Winnipeg was cancelled as far as Thompson. Rather than continue south as train No. 690 from Thompson to The Pas on Wednesday, the cars and locomotives arriving from Churchill will assume the schedule of train no. 693 and return to Churchill from Thompson to maintain triweekly service to communities without highway access.   

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