Suspected washouts lead to derailment, train traffic disruptions in northern Ontario –

Both Canadian Pacific and Canadian National main lines north of Parry Sound, Ont. experienced washouts late on July 24, causing a freight train derailment and railway traffic disruptions.

cn rail train in manitoba

A CN freight train derailed in the early morning of July 25, north of Pointe au Baril, Ont. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Suspected washouts compromised the railway main lines of CN and Canadian Pacific between Parry Sound and French River, causing a freight train derailment north of Pointe au Baril, Ont. late in the evening of July 24. One line has since reopened to train traffic.

Larry Olds, fire chief of Britt and Area Fire and Rescue Department, confirmed that his department was on standby to help railway crews as necessary, but they have not required assistance.

Olds said the derailment took place at Naiscoot, between Magnetawan First Nation and Pointe au Baril, Ont.

A Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) spokesperson told CBC News that the derailment happened at 10:48 p.m. Saturday, July 24. The crew experienced minor injuries when the lead locomotive and roughly two-dozen freight cars left the tracks.

“The train was carrying 99 cars (57 Loads, 42 Empties), weighed 2942 tons and was 5,849 feet long. The TSB is not deploying investigators, but continues to monitor the situation, gather information and assess the occurrence,” said spokesperson Chris Krepski in an email.

Highway 529 remains closed to all traffic as railway crews work in the area.

Update: #Closure #Britt #Hwy529 in both directions from Britt to Pointe Au Baril is closed due to a train derailment. #ONHwys


Olds said he could not provide further information because the Canadian Pacific Police Service was in charge of the scene. CBC News called and emailed Canadian Pacific’s media relations department and its police service, but did not receive any information before publication.

A CN spokesperson told CBC News that the cause of the accident remains under investigation, though he said the incident took place in the early morning of July 25.

“Earlier this morning, a CN locomotive and 24 empty intermodal railcars derailed in various positions on CP’s Parry Sound Subdivision near the municipality of Archipelago, approximately 30 minutes north of Parry Sound. There are no reported injuries, dangerous goods, spills or fire. CN and CP crews are on the scene,” said Mathieu Gaudreault in an email.

According to a railway employee, the train was traveling northbound between Montreal and Prince Rupert, B.C. when it reportedly hit a washout. 

The derailment happened on CP-owned tracks. CN and CP share track in the area through a directional travel agreement.

Another railway worker indicated that a separate washout took place on the CN line around the same time, meaning both companies’ cross-Canada main lines were temporarily blocked. However, the employee said crews detected and repaired that washout before any train traffic passed through the area.

The CN spokesperson has not yet confirmed the reports of the second washout, or whether that line had reopened. A northbound Via Rail passenger train has been holding near Parry Sound since early afternoon.

Central Ontario saw heavy rainstorms Saturday that led Environment Canada to issue rainfall warnings. Nobody from either of the railways was able to offer comment on the cause of the reported washouts.

CBC News will share more information on the derailment as it becomes available.