Train derails on upper north coast

Train derails on upper north coast

Fears grow for train staff after derailment.

A freight train heading out from Sept-Iles to Labrador was drastically derailed on Thursday by a minor landslide that wiped out the track and the locomotive at the same time.

The railway in question runs along the Moise River and is carved out of the side of a mountain. When the landslide hit, one of the two locomotives that was supplying the power was swept away and sent down a slope right into the river.

The locomotive itself was completely submerged in the water causing authorities to believe the engineer has perished. So far no word has been heard from the driver.

The second locomotive was only partially submerged and most of the rest of the train stayed on the tracks with the exception of seven or eight of the bulk wagons. The train of 240 cars was empty at the time and the only person aboard was the driver himself.

The area is very remote and access by land vehicle is very difficult, with the only access being the railway itself.

The train hauls goods from Labrador to Sept-Iles on a regular basis for the IOC mining company who was quick to respond, as they were concerned for the driver’s survival.

Two problems have arisen from the accident, besides the missing driver. Firstly the rail system is also used by a regular passenger train service for the residents of Schefferville to get them to medical services in Sept-Iles and secondly, the risk that the diesel fuel in the locomotive has spilled into the river which is a popular salmon fishing resource.

IOC could not report on how long the track will be shut down, only that it will be repaired as soon as possible after the driver is found and the investigation as to the cause is terminated.

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