CN cleaning up 20-car train derailment near Edmundston

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A CN team trained to dispose of dangerous goods was at the site of a train derailment near Edmundston on Thursday.

The team was "purging" three cars of propane, said company spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis.

"The purging process is where residue of a flammable gas or liquid is purged in a controlled environment by experts in safety and dangerous goods, which is exactly what we're doing today."

He said the controlled burning off of the propane was already underway by early afternoon Thursday. He wasn't sure how long it would take, but said smoke and flames were likely visible in the area surrounding the derailment.

Abecassis said 20 cars derailed at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Saint-Hilaire, just west of Edmundston in northwestern New Brunswick, along the St. John River. The cause of the incident is still under investigation.

He said there were no injuries, leaks or fires, and no homes or businesses needed to be evacuated.

Most of the rail cars were either empty or could be easily removed. Only the cars containing propane required special treatment, said Abecassis.

He said CN hoped to have Route 120 reopened as soon as possible. The road was closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles and local residents during the cleanup.

In a news release from the company, CN apologized "for the inconvenience this incident has caused to local residents, businesses, and motorists. Anyone wishing to submit a claim to CN may do so by contacting or calling 1-888-888-5909."