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After Wednesday’s freight-train derailment in Strathroy, Mayor Joanne Vanderheyden called it a reality many communities must face.
Train derailments have plagued Southwestern Ontario since rail lines were laid down. A look at some of the region’s crashes — from minor to deadly — over the last two decades:
Thamesville, April 23, 1999:
A passenger train derailed in Thamesville, a small Chatham-Kent community, leaving two dead and sending another 100 passengers to hospital after it struck several freight cars. The men killed included a VIA engineer and trainee. The derailment was blamed on human error — a track left in the wrong position.
New Hamburg, January 8, 2004:
Close to 100 litres of diesel fuel gushed out of a fuel tank after three train cars were derailed near New Hamburg. One passenger suffered minor injuries and more than 180 metres of track was destroyed. Investigation showed the tank was punctured by a piece of broken rail. The VIA Rail passenger train, carrying about 35 people, was travelling from Stratford to Toronto.
Melbourne, September 13, 2005:
A truck driver was killed and a neighbourhood evacuated after a vehicle slammed into an 87-car CP train at a crossing on Melbourne Road near Glendon Drive in the rural community of Melbourne, south of Strathroy. Fourteen boxcars derailed and area residents fled due to a tanker of ammonia that was right behind the cars that flew off the tracks.
Sarnia, CN rail yard, May 27, 2011:
Six dangerous-goods cars derailed and a large swath of rail track was damaged after a collision in Sarnia’s CN rail yard. Crews were switching cars in the early morning and crashed at a point where two tracks converged.
Glencoe July 29, 2011:
Six people were injured and one killed by a collision between a 22-year-old driver and a train at a crossing west of Glencoe. A four-car train, headed from Oshawa to Windsor, derailed but remained upright. The mother of the young man who was killed successfully lobbied for gates and signal lights at the crossing in later years.
Clinton, March 29, 2017:
A derailment in Clinton threw nine freight cars off the tracks at an intersection in the town’s south end earlier this year. No one was injured and the train wasn’t carrying any dangerous goods.
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