One injured in crash, derailment of two freight trains in central Prescott

There were no hazardous materials involved in the accident, CN reported.

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PRESCOTT — A collision between two cargo trains in the heart of Prescott on Thursday morning left one person injured and disrupted both rail and road traffic.


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The collision on the main CN Rail line just west of Edward Street startled residents and workers with a loud bang shortly before 10:30 a.m., leaving two locomotives on their side near the town’s water tower and containers strewn across the immediate area.

In a statement, CN indicated four locomotives had derailed and approximately 16 cars had also “derailed in various positions.” It appeared that the damaged cars extended just east of the overpass. There was a minor fuel leak from one of the locomotives.

Ontario Provincial Police said there were only “minor injuries” to one person.

CN confirmed that one crew member was in stable condition; other crew members were taken to hospital as a precaution.

While there was no sign of a fire at the scene, police kept onlookers at a distance as officials tried to confirm whether any hazardous chemicals were involved.


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“No fires or dangerous goods have been reported,” the CN statement said.

A notice on the town’s website confirmed there was no danger to the public.

“None of the overturned box cars were carrying hazardous substances and following a meeting of the Town of Prescott Emergency Management Group, there are currently no concerns for the safety and well-being of residents,” the statement said.

One CN employee received minor injuries when two cargo trains collided on the tracks near Edward Street in Prescott on Thursday.
One CN employee received minor injuries when two cargo trains collided on the tracks near Edward Street in Prescott on Thursday. Photo by Handout /OPP East Region

Prescott Towing owner Steve Rainey was at his business on Churchill Road West when the collision occurred.

“I thought it was an earthquake,” he said. “It shook the ground, for sure.”

Other residents from different parts of town also reported hearing the crash.

The Edward Street overpass reopened to vehicles and pedestrians before 1 p.m. Rail cars on the north track were blocking the Boundary Street crossing, but the Sophia Street crossing was open to traffic. The Boundary crossing remained closed as of 5:30 p.m.; there was no immediate word on when the rail cars would be cleared from the crossing.


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“I am very thankful that the train derailment in Prescott has not resulted in loss of life, and that we fortunately managed to avoid even more serious consequences earlier today,” Mayor Brett Todd stated in a revised town release. “While our thoughts and best wishes are with the injured CN employee, a walk-through the scene of the collision made it clear that this could have been much worse. I am also grateful to have avoided significant damage to Prescott infrastructure like our Edward Street rail overpass and utility connections in the area and that this incident did not involve hazardous materials.”

CN indicated the cause of the collision was under investigation.

Although the overpass was open, the public was asked not to congregate there.

“The company apologizes to local residents for the inconvenience caused by this incident,” the statement read. “CN thanks the first responders at the scene.”

Thursday’s incident was the worst local derailment in 16 years.

It was a hot Monday afternoon in early July 2005 when an eastbound freight train with about 50 empty tanker cars derailed just east of the Edward Street overpass. No injuries were reported. About 2,000 feet of main track was destroyed. An investigation concluded that a portion of the track had buckled in the heat.



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