Many agencies and officials gathered on Sept. 11 along the Skeena River to learn about on-water containment and other recovery strategies in case of a dangerous goods spill through a mock train derailment scenario. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

CN Rail hosts emergency response training at Skeena River in case of train derailment

350 rail cars carrying dangerous goods expected to travel through Terrace per day in coming years

CN Rail is working with the City of Terrace and Kitsumkalum to practice collaborating through emergency response training in case of a potential train derailment that may impact local waterways.

CN Rail staff, CN contractors, Kitsumkalum, the Terrace fire department, plus other industry agencies and stakeholders gathered today, Sept. 11, along the Skeena River by Hwy 16 across from the Tempo Gas Bar to learn about on-water containment and other recovery strategies in a mock derailment scenario.

With an extra 350 rail cars carrying dangerous goods expected to travel through Terrace per day in the wake of the upcoming industry boom, an effort has been made to conduct the first official training exercise following rising concerns over train disaster preparation.

READ MORE: Is Terrace prepared for a rail disaster?

Despite having an emergency response plan posted on the City of Terrace’s website, the city’s plan takes an “all-hazard” approach that does not detail the impacts of specific materials. This drill helps all persons involved how to handle a toxic spill in a quick, organized way.

The day before, participants spent the day in a classroom sharing knowledge and perspectives on how to approach a train derailment.

READ MORE: Better dangerous goods response wanted

Earlier this year, SkeenaWild’s request for full information of the volume and type of dangerous goods expected to pass through Terrace was denied, with CN Rail citing security reasons in a response letter. Those details would only be accessible to qualified emergency response officials, the letter reads.

Still, Terrace fire chief John Klie says the city knows details of what these rail cars contain after they pass through Terrace. But if an emergency was to happen, only then would emergency officials access to the information right away.

Public driving by the exercise scene may see participants deploying booms, which is a temporary floating barrier used to contain an oil spill.

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