Reporting Jim Williams
(CBS) – The death toll in the Canadian train derailment is now 13, but 40 people are missing and feared dead.
The railroad is owned by a Rosemont-based company.
While the cause is still under investigation, CBS 2′s Jim Williams talked with the boss of that company about his plan to help a small Quebec town in need.
1,000 miles away from a community Canada’s prime minister says is like a war zone, the chairman of the railroad’s parent company, calls the scene there devastating.
CBS 2 talked by phone to Edward Burkhardt of Rosemont-based Rail World Incorporated.
Burkhardt says he has been in the business 50 years and that “I’ve experienced some pretty bad ones but I think this tops the list. It’s a terrible thing.”
DePaul University transportation expert Joe Schwieterman calls it a recipe for disaster, as trains today get longer and longer with many carrying hazardous materials. This train was hauling crude oil from North Dakota.
“We’re seeing accidents that are fewer but when they do occur they’re really bad. They’re spectacular accidents,” said Schwieterman. “This one is in a category all to itself.”
Rail World’s Edward Burkhardt says he has heard that anguish in Quebec.
“We’re going to stay there. The environmental clean-up is our responsibility. We’re going to continue that until it’s done properly. “We’ll stay with the town people until this whole situation is resolved,” said Burkhard.
DePaul’s Joe Schwiederman believes the Canada train disaster may prompt governments to look closely at the length of trains, some are more than a mile, and look at how hazardous materials are stored.