A collision between a fuel truck and a train at the railway crossing on Highway 9 occurred at 11:37 a.m. on July 25.
Yorkton Fire Protective Services and Yorkton RCMP both attended the scene.
The truck’s trailers were located on both sides of the train.
According to Yorkton Fire Chief Trevor Morrissey, 20,000 litres of fuel leaked, both onto the ground and the train itself, but crews were able to contain the spill and protected nearby water sources from contamination.
There were no injuries.
That there were no injuries is the good news side of this story.
Frankly it could have been a massively different story had the 20,000 litres of leaked fuel not been diesel.
Diesel fuel does not ignite as easily as gasoline, and so is not as explosive generally.
Had the tanker in this case been hauling gasoline the likelihood of ignition and explosion would have been significantly higher.
Had a fire or explosion occurred the engineers in the train and the driver of the truck would not have escaped injury, with a high chance they all may have perished.
And, of course semi-trucks haul all sorts of products that could have been more dangerous and deadly had they been in the accident, and not a truck hauling the more stable diesel.
That should raise concerns in the community regarding the rail crossing on Highway 9.
There have been incidents at the site before, and sadly incidents may occur again.
As the city grows in its role as the hub of a large trading area traffic increases.
With canola crushing plants and nearby potash mines we also recognize train traffic appears to be growing too.
You would be hard pressed to find a local driver that cannot relate how they have become frustrated at least on occasion sitting at a railway crossing waiting for a train to pass through the city.
It is the recognition that as a driver we might become frustrated at such times that have some drivers ignoring the flashing lights and the train’s whistle driving over the tracks to beat the train and avoid sitting at the crossing.
It is illegal, but it happens.
It happens far too often, and at times the driver guesses wrong and accidents occur.
One sure way to stop people taking the risk, to prevent the next semi hauling something far more dangerous than diesel fuel being in an accident at the intersection in question, is to install control arms.
Yes, there is a cost to such an installation but it is a case of public safety as well.
At the very least the City of Yorkton, Department of Highways and the rail company should be looking into the potential of adding another layer of safety at the crossing.