March 10, 2015 / 2:38 AM / 4 years ago

Canadian National says fire out at Ontario derailment site

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Co crews and other firefighters have put out the last of the fires at the site of a derailment in northern Ontario and the line could be open by late on Tuesday, the railway said on Monday.

Smoke rises from fires caused by the derailment of a CN Railway train carrying crude oil near the northern Ontario community of Gogama, Ontario in this March 7, 2015 handout photo obtained by Reuters from Transport Safety Board of Canada (TSBCanada) March 9, 2015. REUTERS/TSBCanada/Handout via Reuters

The train, which was carrying crude oil from Alberta, went off the tracks and burst into flames near the small town of Gogama early on Saturday.

Firefighters extinguished the last of the flames around 6 p.m. ET on Monday and two rail cars in a river have also been removed, CN said.

“CN engineering crews are now focused on completing the temporary bypass, and CN expects to have the line back in service late tomorrow afternoon,” the railway said.

The crash was the third incident along the same section of CN track in less than a month, and the second in which crude oil spilled and burned near Gogama.

A spokesman for Canada’s transport minister said earlier on Monday that the series of train derailments is cause for concern.

The Canadian government has made a number of regulatory changes since 2013, when a runaway train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, killing 47 people, but derailments have continued.

There have been calls for slower speeds.

“Obviously it’s a public relations disaster,” said S&P Capital IQ analyst Jim Corridore. “In the long term, they’re creating a real risk to the entire rail industry of decreased train speeds.”

Strict speed limits could slow not just crude shipments, but all freight that travels along North America’s rail network, reducing capacity and cutting into railways’ earnings.

Regulators in Canada and the United States are working on a new standard for tank cars, meant to improve on existing designs that have performed poorly in crude oil derailments. In February, Canadian media reported that they could be ready in the spring.

Shortly after the previous derailment near Gogama, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said the incident showed the need for safer tank cars.

Safety board spokesman John Cottreau said the train in this weekend’s derailment had been traveling at 43 miles per hour at the time of the accident, under the speed limit in the area.

Reporting by Allison Martell and Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Peter Galloway

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