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No injuries as train derailment closes Highway 99 north of Whistler

A train derailment Thursday closed Highway 99 north of Whistler in both directions.

The accident occurred just before 2 pm local time, CN spokeswoman Emily Hamer said on Thursday.

Three northbound rail cars went off the tracks as they crossed a rail bridge that spans the highway south of Pemberton. Two cars stayed upright on the bridge while the third is on its side on the highway

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"The cars are empty wood pellet hoppers," Ms. Hamer said. "There were no injuries and no environmental issues."

Local RCMP and CN crews are on site and the road is expected to be closed for at least several hours.

In a statement, Whistler Pemberton RCMP said the highway was closed while the damage was assessed and then re-opened to single-lane alternating traffic at 3:45 pm. Police said the highway is expected to remain single-lane alternating until at least the morning of January 4 until remaining rail cars can be removed. Police said one vehicle suffered some minor damage from flying debris. The cause of the incident remains under investigation.

In 2005, nine CN rail cars, including one carrying sodium hydroxide, derailed near Squamish, devastating fish in the Cheakamus River.

Since then, recovery programs partly funded by the company have helped fish stocks recover.

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More

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