Rail and oil industry spokespersons will talk about their excellent safety record, but here are photos that tell a different story. (This listing thanks to Facebook/BombTrains. (On a sad note, Curtis Hewston, who maintained the Facebook BombTrains page, passed away in September 2014. His detailed logging of hazmat derailments was without an equal. Would that someone could pick up and carry on where Curtis left off…)
Notable Oil Train Detonations
6 July 2013 — Canada — A freight train containing 72 tank cars of crude oil that originated from the Bakken formation runs away while unattended and derails in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. Several cars explode, resulting in 42 confirmed dead and 5 missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town’s center, roughly half of the downtown area, are destroyed. It is the deadliest rail disaster in Canada since the St-Hilaire train disaster in 1864.
19 October 2013 — Canada — A Canadian National Railway freight train with 13 cars carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derails west of Edmonton, Alberta. Local residents are evacuated in Gainford, Alberta, located 53 miles (85 km) from the capital. A fire results. No one was injured.
8 November 2013 — United States — A 90-car freight train carrying crude oil from the Bakken formation in North Dakota, from Amory, Mississippi, to a refinery in Walnut Hill, Florida, derails and explodes near the town of Aliceville, Alabama. The flames, which shot upward 300 feet high, were left to burn themselves out. There were no fatalities or injuries.
30 December 2013 — United States — Several grain cars from a westbound train derail and strike an eastbound train, carrying crude oil from the Bakken formation, near Casselton, North Dakota. Several crude oil cars explode, resulting in large clouds of toxic, black smoke, which forced an evacuation of the area. No casualties were reported.
7 January 2014 — Canada — A Canadian National train carrying crude oil and propane derails near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick and burns for days. The resulting fire forced an evacuation of about 150 people from within a two-kilometre radius. No injuries were reported.
30 April 2014 — United States — About 15 tanker cars on a CSX unit train carrying Bakken crude oil through downtown Lynchburg, Virginia derailed along the James River. At least three of the cars broke open and ignited, while also spilling at least 50,000 gallons of crude into the fiery river. No injuries were reported.