PRESCOTT, ONT. — Two freight trains collided along the tracks in Prescott, Ont., disrupting freight and passenger rail service in eastern Ontario ahead of the Labour Day long weekend.
Emergency crews responded to an incident at the train tracks near Edward Street Thursday morning in the town 95 km south of Ottawa.
Police said in a tweet two cargo trains have collided. One person was treated on the scene for minor injuries.
Photos show an engine and several rail cars on its side along the tracks.
In a statement, CN Rail says preliminary reports indicate the derailment involves two trains.
“Four locomotives have derailed, two of which are on their side,” said CN Rail Thursday afternoon.
“Approximately 16 cars are derailed in various positions. One of the locomotives is reported to have a minor fuel leak, which is being addressed. “
All crew members onboard the two trains were taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
“It was quite a mess,” said Duane Le Grand, an employee at Northern Cables, located next to the CN Rail tracks in Prescott.
Le Grand tells CTV News Ottawa they could hear the collision inside the plant.
“I was in the plant, I could hear it. The noise, I thought one of the machines blew up,” said Le Grand.
“The noise just kept escalating. Looked out, sure enough the train’s all there.”
On Twitter, one person said it felt like an earthquake when the trains collided and derailed. Another person reported hearing a “very loud bang” at the time of the incident.
“It’s pretty horrendous to see it, but actually if you can have some luck in an incident like this I think we may have had it today,” said Prescott Mayor Brett Todd.
Todd says crews are on the scene to assess the damage.
“Tracks are pretty torn up and obviously a pretty significant collision there. You can see the seriousness of the impact,” said Todd.
“Very thankful right now that no one was killed on scene and there was no loss of life.”
The CN Rail line remained closed through Prescott, Ont. Thursday afternoon.
“The cause of the incident is under investigation and CN thanks the first responders at the scene,” said CN Rail.
The Transportation Safety Board has deployed a team of investigators to Prescott to gather information and assess the incident.
VIA Rail service along the Toronto-Montreal corridor has been disrupted by the train collision in Prescott.
Passengers from Train 63 from Montreal to Toronto will be transported by bus to their final destination. The train was parked along the rail line near Iroquois for several hours on Thursday.
“At this time, approximately 1,600 VIA Rail passengers are affected by delays caused by this incident. Impacted passengers are being contacted to offer updates and alternative travel options when possible,” said VIA Rail in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.
VIA Rail says other trains travelling between Montreal and Toronto will be rerouted through Ottawa until the rail line is “cleared and safe for travel.”
“Trains between Toronto and Montréal will see significant delays today and probably tomorrow. We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause to our passengers,” said VIA Rail.