I gathered up a few bits of information about this mess; rolling the dice in these increasingly high density living areas.
Heavy rain may have caused CP train derailment in Burnaby.
From what I saw of the videos, photographs the rail bed was definitely eroded by the stream, and the inevitable happened.
Coal train derailment a real concern says Corrigan
The Canadian Pacific Railway train was using Canadian National Railways tracks to move metallurgical coal from the East Kootenay coalfields to the Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver.
The coal itself will hopefully not do too much long-term damage to the environment, but it is an incident that should not have occurred in the first place if the CNR staff had sent someone along the tracks before hand to check on the integrity of their rail bed.
A concern that I have is I was wondering if the same chemical, ( 4-methyl cyclohexane methanol, CAS# 34885-03-5 ) had been previously used on the coal, to remove the sulfur, that is causing so much concern right now in the USA, where a large spill of it occurred, see the discussion HERE.
Learn where the safety placards are on trains
And what the Class designations mean on the placards
And while you are at it learn some of the cryptic numbers that are used to identify some of the commodities carried through our communities. Luckily some of the chemicals are listed in plain english, and painted onto the tanks, the smaller tank cars are usually the most dangerous, sometimes they also have a frame around them.
Frequently you will also see something listed with the designation, CAS and a number.
CAS, stands for Chemical Abstracts Service, sadly this is a pay to use service; no sense of safety with them, just money. More frequently seen in use on smaller amounts of chemicals, but the commodity chemicals also have their CAS numbers too.