Saturday, August 04, 2007


Disgraceful piece of treacherous, ill-informed, biased reporting

Monday morning, B.C. Day
B.C. Mary writes from a holiday location deep in the woods: By a solar-powered computer, I was able to access Vancouver Sun this morning and found its appalling write-up about this CN disaster in Prince George city limits.

I wish I could copy and paste it here, but I can't. Look especially for the line which goes " ... at least one of the trains had a driver." Well, duuuhh!!

From what I can find out, ONE of those trains had NO driver!!

We must be told what the ONE frantic driver saw on the tracks ahead of him on Saturday morning ... and why he was hooting, hooting, hooting as his 11,000-foot train reached the collision point.

I mean, Come on, Vancouver Sun ... how hard is that? Prince George has its own daily CanWest newspaper, radio and TV stations, surely one of those NEWS outlets could interview the ONE desperately-worried driver. Or find out: if not, why not.

To everyone: please check around, especially if you live in Prince George or know any of the trainmen; they must be worried sick ... please visit that marvelous tool: YouTube and ask about the CN wreck at Prince George ... send in your thoughts and comments ... to be published here, as a vital component of The Legislature Raids.

Looks like this case needs Citizen Journalists or it will be whitewashed, confused, evaded, covered up. Sound familiar yet?

It's really time to ask if British Columbia should sit idly by and watch this humiliating degradation of what was once B.C. Rail now operating in such frantic, haywire, slapdash style. As if nobody's watching. As if nobody cares, for heaven sake!

Check out YouTube again. That's right, ask for CN train wreck, Prince George.

I'll be back on Wednesday.


SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: YouTube is incredibly valuable. Several videos, one explaining that the westbound train was 11,000 feet long. Good eye-witness account of the two trains colliding -- one train hooting frantically as it approached the point of collision. Now look at this comment left on the YouTube site:

themanfromvan (8 hours ago)
There was no "Driver". The yard engine was a remote control "beltpack engine" that was being operated by a manager due to manpower issues. I guess he did not have the proper training. This was a total disrespect to public safety and this manager should be thrown in jail.

I will leave the following reports in place for a while ... but there is so much misinformation (I think), I may remove them as the situation becomes clearer. - BC Mary.

Global TV reports that "at least 5 CN freight cars of highly flammable Methanol" are burning, at this moment (2:00 PM Saturday August 4, 2007) in the City of Prince George.

The site of this latest CN disaster is within historic Fort George Park, on the banks of the Fraser River. About 1 square kilometer has been cordoned off. But the public -- men, women, and even children -- are strolling the paths watching the fire, possibly not aware of the toxicity of the billowing cloud of black smoke rising from the crippled train.

Cause of the fire is unknown. It does not appear to be a derailment.
You can see the situation by Global TV video at:

Further details when more is known. - BC Mary.

Here's quite a different take, from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:


CBC NEWS - Saturday, August 4, 2007

A CN train has derailed and is burning on the shores of the Fraser River in Prince George in the B.C. Interior.

Orange flames licked the treetops Saturday morning after two trains collided on the line south of the city.

An engine was still burning after 1 p.m. PT, RCMP Const. Gary Godwin told CBC News. No one was hurt.

Early reports suggested the trains may have included toxic materials, but Godwin said CN had removed tank cars from the scene.

One tank car with diesel oil is still at the site, however, and an engine has rolled down the embankment toward the river, he said.

Most of the cars were carrying lumber, Godwin said.

Emergency crews and hazardous materials teams are on the scene. Crowds of people watched the smoke rise from the wreck, as RCMP stopped reporters about 800 metres from the scene, saying it was too dangerous to continue.

"It looks pretty messy here from across the river," Godwin said.

Some gasoline has leaked into the Fraser River and small slicks could be seen swirling downstream.

The focus now is on preventing gasoline from getting into the river, CN spokesman Jim Feeney said.

The company's safety record has improved since 2005, and Feeney said it's too early to compare Saturday's fire with a 2005 derailment near Squamish that spilled a toxic chemical into the Cheakamus River, killing hundreds of thousands of fish.

On Friday, CN was charged with five counts under federal and B.C. environmental legislation resulting from the spill.


So is this a good time to ask if we could tear up that deal to sell B.C. Rail and have B.C. Railway returned to public ownership again?


Collision causes fire in Prince George

Vancouver Sun -- Saturday, August 04, 2007

Emergency crews in Prince George used foam fire retardant to put out a blaze caused by a train collision in CN's rail yard on Saturday.

Assistant fire chief Rod Weise said flames shot at least seven metres in the air, creating a towering plume of dark smoke after the accident. Firefighters worked from the air and ground to extinguish the burning rail car containing a yet-to-be identified hydrocarbon, he said.

No injuries have been reported and a clean up is underway.

The accident follows news that Environment Canada has laid five charges against CN Rail for the environmental impact of the derailment of a freight train in Cheakamus Canyon two years ago. {Snip} ...

My gosh, this doesn't even sound like the same story ... we could see from the Global TV video, the crippled train was on the banks of the Fraser River, not in the CN rail yard. But here's the rest of it:


... a later Vancouver Sun version of the story:

Another CN rail spill

Collision causes fire in Prince George
Vancouver Sun - Saturday, August 04, 2007

Emergency crews are fighting a rail car blaze in Prince George after a train collision in CN's rail yard on Saturday.

CN Rail spokesman Jim Feeny said two trains collided at 10:30 Saturday morning, sending three locomotives from one train and four cars from another off the rails. One of the locomotives caught fire, but was later put out. Two tanker cars carrying gasoline and a frieght [sic] car carrying lumber continued to burn at 2:30 on Saturday afternoon. The fourth car, carrying diesel, did not ignite, he said.

The rail yard is next to the Fraser River and Feeny said some gasoline spilled from the tankers, but it's not yet known if any fuel has reached the river. Environmental crews are standing by, but must waiting [sic] until the fire is out to examine the site.

No injuries have been reported.

I know Prince George fairly well and cannot see how a crippled locomotive (shown in the Vancouver Sun story), sprawled down an embankment and almost touching the Fraser River, with trees all around, can be "in CN's rail yard". Or, in fact, how an accident involving a collision between two trains carrying hazardous materials could possibly have been allowed to happen in the CN's rail yard. At very least, this suggests defective safety procedures as well as extremely poor working conditions. Let's hear from some of the trainmen. - BC Mary.


About that improving safety record...what was that CN spokesperson smoking?
Check this site for more info about this collision.
Last time I checked the CBC had pictures of a water bomber dumping on the fire. Lots of flames. somewhere I read the cars had lumber. But it sure looked like fuel to me. But what would i know, I bombed forest fires for a couple of years in Alberta and BC. CN appears to have a horrible safety record.. DL
Hi Mary,

I stumbled on a YouTube video of it. I was reading the comments on the NaPo article and a posters daughter took it.

No where near the PG rail yard that's for sure.


I've been wondering about the news reports which claim the trains collided in the CN railyard at Prince George.

I know Prince George fairly well, and the CN railyard is a bare, flat-land industrial site on Railway Avenue, closer to city-centre than the Fraser River.

Photos of this recent CN wreck shows that it happened on the Fraser riverbank, on a steep heavily treed hillside.

That's no railyard. That's the main rail line.

Could it be that there was a knee-jerk response -- that someone was trying to suggest that there hadn't been a major error in routing?

Otherwise, how could a north-bound train collide with a south-bound train head-on, in broad daylight, on the main rail line bordering the city of Prince George, while carrying HAZARDOUS MATERIALS? Five cars of Methanol, was the first report.

"The trains were travelling at slow speed ..." I heard last evening on CTV's evening news. How slow, do you reckon, to have caused a derailment and fire like that?

I'm not kidding when I ask: is this a good time to demand that the B.C. Rail Trial get going -- that the Supreme Court hear whether that deal to "sell" B.C. Rail was legitimate -- so as to sort it all out, as to whether we can get B.C. Rail returned to public ownership where public safety has priority.

As it is, B.C. is being made to look like a 3rd world jungle with privatized trains falling into canyons and 2 trainmen killed (Lytton), trains falling into rivers (Cheakamus Canyon) and fish wiped out, a railway trestle collapse (McBride, 2 deaths), and now this rail disaster within Prince George city limits.

Enough already!

Perhaps, three years down the line, there will be another spate of charges against the railway - long after their PR people have tried once again to substitute rhetoric for reality.

You need to have a decent memory in this province - one certainly can't rely upon the media to get the 'facts' any longer.

Fines to companies (like the husk that is today all that's left of a once-proud "Canadian" public company owned by the people of this land such as CN) are simply the cost of doing business. A lot like the rewards our political system arranges for its friends.

I wonder if, behind the scenes, the politicians and their corporate co-conspirators laugh about it when they get together to count 'coup' and scratch each other's backs. We live in a dark time Mary.

Happy BC Day Prince George...
All good questions Mary. Which leads to the following, one of he accusations made by the rcmp against basi/virk is that somehow cn rail paid too much for bc rail. I can't wait for the next court date! The way this is going they are going to have to sell tickets to attend this trial!

If you read the judges decision and the submission by the defence lawyers one of the keys to this whole thing is that somehow cn was defrauded. Tell that to the families of the men who died in the derailment or to all the people affected by the latest accidents or the people affected by the Cheakamus spill.

So you and I (as the owners of bc rail) were paid more than we should have for our asset by cn rail, who in my opinion stole the asset from us. Hey debruyckere, I can't wait for your explanation on this one, make sure you have your marching orders from your master campbell!
See, they said "CN's rail yard" because that didn't sound nearly as threatening as across the "Fraser River from a densely populated residential area" or "alongside a popular natural park (LC Gunn Park is up the cutbanks from the tracks).

What absolutely horrid newspaper work. Nobody has any guts.
The take I get on this crash in PG is that CN is trying very hard to control the media THROUGH the RCMP.

AAhhh back to the 30's and 40's propaganda machines.
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