Hells Gate Train Derailment

DISCLAIMER: Information provided is based on reports received by Emergency Management B.C. Information provided is considered to be current at the time of posting, but is subject to change as new information becomes available.

Incident Description

Incident Date November 23, 2017
Name Hells Gate Train Derailment (DGIR 172902)
Source Engine fuel tank 
Nearest Community Hells Gate
Spilled Content Fuel
Who is involved? Emergency Management B.C., NUCOR Environmental Solutions Ltd., Canadian Pacific Railway, B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, GHD


Response Phase Detail

The responsible person or spiller is legally required to clean-up or manage the clean-up of a spill. In incidents where the responsible person is unknown, unable or unwilling to manage the clean up, the Ministry of Environment may assume the role. The updates below reflect the Ministry’s oversight of the spillers’ actions; details describe the spill response phase, only, and not the complete lifecycle of the spill. See More Information for other related reports. 

Updates are in reverse chronological order, with the most recent at the top. Industry-specific language may be explained in the Glossary of Terms (PDF).

Most Recent Update

November 24, 2017 - 8:20 am

An Environmental Emergency Response Officer (EERO) is deploying to the incident site this morning and will be working with Canadian Pacific Railway to monitor spill response activities and assess potential impacts to the environment. 

NUCOR Environmental Solutions Ltd. was able to resume the incident site assessment yesterday (November 23, 2017) and located a small hole in the vent line of the train engine's fuel tank. Fuel was leaking out of the vent line hole, over the steep bank and into the Fraser River at a fairly steady flow.

The hole has been temporarily patched. It is unknown if this leak occurred during the derailment or opened up at some point after due to pressure on the train engine's fuel tank. 

One of the empty grain cars laying on top of the train's engine was removed yesterday and crews are working to remove the second.

Affected First Nations have been updated on the situation and will continue to be notified of ongoing response actions.

A rock slide caused a CP Rail train to derail. This picture shows two empty grain train cars on top of the CP Rail train engine car buried in rocks

(Canadian Pacific Railway train derailment near Hells Gate, B.C. - November 23, 2017)


Incident Location


November 23, 2017 - 11:10 am

Canadian Pacific Railway has activated their Geographic Response Plan (GRP) in response to this incident. A GRP identifies all relevant access routes, environmentally and culturally sensitive areas near the spill site, potential points to collect spilled material, and more.

NUCOR Environmental Solutions Ltd. completed a partial inspection of the train engine's fuel tank this morning. No visible breach was observed, although part of the tank is currently inaccessible because it is underneath another train car. No fuel sheen was observed in the Fraser River and there are currently no derailed train cars in the Fraser River. 

The train cars at the incident site are unstable, conditions are muddy and slick and there is a steep drop off next to the site. Due to safety concerns, Canadian Pacific Railway is standing down NUCOR Environmental Solutions Ltd. until the site can be cleared and conditions improve. 

GHD, an environmental consultant company, was hired by Canadian Pacific Railway to collect water samples from the Fraser River upstream and downstream of the incident site. GHD is currently on their way to the incident site. 

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available. 


November 23, 2017 - 10:15 am

An early morning rock slide occurred near Hells Gate causing a Canadian Pacific Railway train to derail. The train's engine and several empty grain cars are currently off the tracks. The train's engine is on its side with an empty train car on top of it. The derailment has potentially ruptured the train engine's fuel tank, which has an approximate capacity of 16,000 L. 

NUCOR Environmental Solutions Ltd. is en route to complete a site inspection and determine fuel loss amounts. Three vacuum trucks are also en route.

Further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.