Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Train mishap recalled

Lee Millette doesn’t want history to repeat itself.
Millette, who has lived at the end of Christie Avenue North with his wife, Aimee, for more than 20 years, is among neighbourhood residents waiting to have a meeting with CN about the third set of tracks it plans to build near their homes.

And like his neighbours, Millette has serious safety concerns about trains coming even closer to their residential properties.
After all, he’s seen what can happen.
In late October, 1997, a 200-pound train hitch went flying about 30 feet into the air and came crashing down next his fence while 10 trains cars derailed.
Eight of the 10 cars toppled over, spilling some 800,000 pounds of coal all over the place.
A broken rail later was determined as the cause of the accident.
Millette said it was fortunate neither of his daughters, Jaclyn, seven, or Roxanne, five, were playing in the yard at the time, adding it was a cool, autumn day.
Their swing set was right next to the wire fence that separates Millette’s yard from the tracks and when his daughters were that age, it was not uncommon for seven or eight kids to be playing outside at any given time.
As such, he was especially grateful the yard wasn’t full of youngsters.
But Millette also remembers how frightened they were by the incident and how it took a long time for them to feel safe enough to go play in their yard.
“I don’t want to go through it again,” said Millette, noting he now has two young grandchildren who visit him.
“The biggest issue with it is we want a guarantee that we’re not going to have another accident,” he remarked.
“Being that much closer, it’s coming through my house.”
And if a train derails, he said it won’t just impact him but all his neighbours along the tracks.
Millette said it appears the wheels already are in motion for CN to start installing the third track.
Workers have come along and begun trimming trees and clearing brush between his property line and the tracks.
But before they go any further, Millette and his fellow residents, like Dave Poirier and Melanie Allen, want to know what sort of buffer CN will put up between their properties and the new set of rails.
“Give us the guarantee what you’re putting up for safety,” Millette said to CN, adding he would like to see a 20-foot cement buffer.

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