Via train jumps tracks, smashes into Quebec homePublished On Fri Feb 26 2010
SAINT-CHARLES-DE-BELLECHASSE, Que.–Federal accident investigators picked through the debris Thursday of a Via Rail passenger train that jumped the tracks, clipped a house and plowed through a two-car garage.
A huge grey locomotive sat where two cars – now little more than scrap metal – were parked.
No one was injured in the house, but Elizabeth Huart, a spokeswoman for Via Rail, said late Thursday afternoon five passengers and two Via employees were treated in hospital for minor injuries and released.
Rose-Anne Cameron, who lives in the house, thought she had been caught in an earthquake.
"I was getting ready to make a coffee when everything started to shake in the house," she said. "I heard the mirrors breaking, the dishes breaking, the electricity went out.
Cameron's dog dallied when she took him out in the morning. If he had been five minutes quicker, she said, she would have been following her normal routine, getting ready in the bathroom, which was destroyed.
Many of the 120 passengers were asleep when the Halifax-to-Montreal train began to shake before derailing about 4:45 a.m. near St-Charles-de-Bellechasse, southeast of Quebec City.
Seven cars – five passenger cars and two locomotives – left the track. One engine toppled onto its side, leaving a pool of diesel fuel.
"There was an uproar which lasted 30 seconds but it felt like 10 minutes," said passenger Carole Ouellet. "When the accident happened, there were literally people flying around in the car. It's a miracle that nobody was injured seriously."