Crude-by-rail accidents monitoring: Update on the 2019 St. Lazare Derailment

Since the Fund’s creation in 2016, we continue to monitor and follow up on railway accidents involving crude oil. So far, six are being monitored for any potential compensation-related ramifications. One of them is the 2019 St. Lazare, Manitoba derailment. The Transport Safety Board (TSB) of Canada recently completed their investigation on this derailment. The full report can be found here:

TSB’s report on the derailment:

The Investigator-in-charge at TSB concluded that the derailment occurred due to mismatched joint bars along the track. Measures have since been put into place to prevent this same error from happening.

Effects of the accident on the Fund:

The damage caused by the accident is below the insurance amount that the railway company must carry. Therefore, the Fund will not be activated.

However, we continue to monitor until the six-year time limit for claiming against the railway company has expired.

Brief summary of the accident (based on the TSB report):

On February 16, 2019, a Canadian National Railway Company (CN) train derailed near St. Lazare, Manitoba, in the rural municipality of Ellice-Archie. The train had 108 cars carrying crude oil, out of which 37 cars derailed. 17 of these cars breached and 15 of those cars released product (the other two cars with confirmed breaches lost no measurable amount of product). Approximately 820,000 litres of crude oil leaked. The derailment occurred on property owned by a rancher. Oil spilled on top of a frozen pond used to water cattle in the summer. CN’s environmental team led the cleanup. There was no fire, no injuries, and no evacuation. There was no additional impact to other waterways, including the nearby Assiniboine River.