Three dead, 45 injured in Burlington train derailment
Chris Fox, cp24.com
Published Sunday, February 26, 2012 9:30PM EST
Three people have died and 45 others are injured after a Toronto bound Via Rail train derailed in Burlington.
For a gallery of photos from the accident scene follow this link.
All six cars belonging to VIA Rail train #92 from Niagara Falls went off the tracks near Plains and King Road around 3:30 p.m. with two of them ending up on their sides in an L pattern.
As many as 60 passengers were originally trapped, but according to a VIA Rail spokesperson all have now been freed.
There were 79 passengers and crew aboard the train at the time of the accident.
"I have been in the railway business for over 40 years and you don't see this kind of scene very often thank god," VIA Rail Chief Operating Officer John Marginson told reporters at the scene Sunday evening. "It's a very powerful thing to say the least."
Air ambulances rushed three of the injured to hospital Sunday afternoon with two ambulance buses transporting those with less serious injuries.
The three people who died in the crash were all VIA crew members. Their bodies were removed from the train around 8 p.m. and efforts are now underway to notify their next of kin. A fourth crew member was injured.
"We are a relatively small company, we are a family and we certainly feel for the families of the colleagues we have lost," Marginson said. "It's tragic."
There is still no word on what may have caused the derailment, but the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has deployed a team to investigate.
The investigation will take at least a year according to TSBC Spokesperson Chris Krepski.
There is some hope that a locomotive event recorder, similar to a black box on a plane, may provide some clues as to what happened.
"Right now we are just in the data gathering phase," Krepski told CP24. "We are doing witness interviews. getting information from the company and just getting as much information as possible."
Some passengers were unharmed and were bused to Union Station, the train's original destination.
"It felt like a plane crash," one passenger named Deana told CP24. "People were flying, stuff was kinda flying and I just ducked and held on in an attempt not to go flying myself."
On Sunday evening Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring to offer his condolences and any assistance Burlington may need.
On Twitter Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak also chimed in.
"My thoughts and prayers are w (sic) VIA passengers, staff and their families," he said. "Good to see emergency responders quickly on scene."
GO Transit trains are turning back at Burlington as a result.
According to Halton police the train track in Burlington will remain closed overnight, but should reopen sometime tomorrow afternoon.
VIA Rail has set up an information hotline at 1 (888) 842-6141.