CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Six tanker cars that teetered on a partially collapsed railway bridge over Calgary’s swollen Bow River were successfully removed Friday.
Calgary’s Acting Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said the rail cars were stabilized before locomotives pulled them safely off the bridge early Friday morning. He said no one was injured during the incident.
The partially collapsed bridge gave way Thursday morning after most of the train had crossed.
Five of the derailed cars had been carrying a product used to dilute raw oils ands bitumen, but workers earlier removed it to new cars on an adjacent stable bridge. Uzeloc said no product was released into the Bow River.
The bridge, southeast of downtown Calgary, typically sits about 25 feet (7.6 meters) above water level, though water levels remain high after last week’s flooding.
Hunter Harrison, the CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway, called the incident an “extraordinary” event. He said bridge piers at the bottom of the river failed, and that engineers blamed the failure on fast water scouring away gravel under the support.
Uzeloc said there were concerns that things could have ended much worse.
“You had five rail cars full of flammable liquid that if they had ruptured or opened up could have leaked into the river,” he said.
“You also had rail cars, if they had gone into the river, would have floated down a significant portion of the river, then could have run into other bridge abutments or caused damage further down.”
Canadian Pacific said the bridge was inspected by a qualified inspector on Saturday and the track was inspected on Monday.
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi questioned the timing of the last bridge inspection when water on the river was still at record levels.