Freight Derailment Cripples GO Train Service

Crossposted to Transit Toronto.

The Toronto Star is reporting that a freight derailment near Royal York Road has suspended all GO Train service out of Union Station right at the beginning of the afternoon rush hour.

“Six cars on a westbound freight train travelling towards Oakville came off the tracks,” explained Ian Thomson, CN director of operations issues. “There were no dangerous goods aboard, and there is no fire.”

Nobody was hurt as a result of the derailment, said Thomson.

The location of the derailment is particularly problematic, as it effectively isolates Union Station from GO Transit’s Willowbrook facilities, preventing the agency from moving in trains to service its passengers. Many trains are stored during the midday at North Bathurst Yard, however, and these should be unaffected.

It is unlikely that GO Train passengers at Union this afternoon will be able to access stations along the Lakeshore West line without using emergency GO shuttle buses. Service on all other GO Train lines, including Lakeshore East, may be available, albeit as a limited service due to limited equipment availability.

As of 4:08 p.m., GO Transit’s website was offline, possibly due to the number of people visiting it for information. The Star is trying to maintain a live update on this situation, so pay attention to that website, and to local news stations 680 News and Pulse24 as this story develops.

(Update: 6:47 p.m.): The GO Transit website is back online and reporting that limited service has resumed. Basically, trains are going out, as equipment and crews become available.

(Update: 10:00 p.m.): All train service between Union and Burlington will remain suspended until the end of service tonight. Trains are operating between Union and Oshawa, although GO warns passengers to expect delays and possible cancellations. The trains to Georgetown, Milton, Bradford, Richmond Hill and Stouffville eventually made their runs, but with delays and cancellations. It should be noted that VIA Rail service was affected as well, but trains are starting to run again.

CN is reporting that cleanup will continue until Saturday afternoon. It is not known at this time if GO Train service will be affected Saturday morning. Stay tuned to GO Transit’s website for further updates.

photo from Toronto Star