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Canadian Pacific Rail Cars Carrying Oil to Montreal Leak

Two Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. cars carrying light, sweet crude to Montreal leaked oil after a train derailed in northern Ontario.

About 20 cars on the mixed-freight train, which originated in Thunder Bay, Ontario, went off the tracks in the White River area at about 7:50 a.m. East Coast time today, Ed Greenberg, a Canadian Pacific spokesman based in Minneapolis, said by e-mail. Two of the cars leaked an estimated four barrels of oil. The release has been contained, he said.

The derailment was the second in a week for the Calgary-based company to result in a crude-oil spill. Fourteen cars of a Canadian Pacific train went off the tracks in west-central Minnesota on March 27, releasing about 15,000 gallons. That crude was being shipped to the Chicago area from western Canada, Greenberg said at the time.

“These are separate incidents,” Greenberg said by telephone today. “For the volume of commodities that we handle and for everything that people use in their daily lives and businesses, the rail industry is a safe industry.”

The spills come as Canadian Pacific is trying to meet rising demand for crude from shippers. The railroad carried 53,500 carloads of crude oil last year, a 19-fold increase from 2010, Jane O’Hagan, the company’s chief marketing officer, said Feb. 13 in a presentation to investors.

Boosting Loads

This year, Canadian Pacific may move about 70,000 carloads of crude oil, an amount that the company wants to double or triple in the long-term, O’Hagan said at the time, without providing a specific time line.

The train that derailed today was carrying multiple products, including lumber, Greenberg said. Several of the rail cars were empty, he said.

Canadian Pacific is looking into options that would allow it to deliver products from the train on alternative routes, Greenberg said.

“Our priority at this time is to ensure our response protocols are in place and that we’re ensuring we’re taking the necessary steps to clean up the area where the incident took place,” he said.

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