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Evacuation after train derails in Nova Scotia

WEST RIVER STATION, N.S. - A freight train carrying propane derailed Monday in Nova Scotia's Pictou County, but the RCMP said the risk of an explosion was minimal.

Police received a call shortly before 2 p.m. that a train left the tracks near 180 Lansdowne Rd. in West River Station, about 150 kilometres northeast of Halifax.

The Mounties said two people were aboard the train at the time, but no injuries were reported.

Cpl. Scott MacRae said the train's engineer realized there was a problem and stopped the train, which was en route to Truro from Stellarton.

MacRae said that's when the engineer noticed some cars had derailed and were on their sides, though they were not damaged or leaking.

Police said six cars containing a mix of propane and butane were involved in the derailment.

"We believe it's a minimal risk for explosion or fire at this time," MacRae said about three hours after the incident.

MacRae said police evacuated a 2.5-kilometre radius around the derailment as a precaution, including some homes.

He said the few residents who were asked to leave their homes would likely be able to return once the site was cleaned up. MacRae said that would involve a process to neutralize the propane and remove the cars. He could not say how long that would take.

The RCMP issued a statement late Monday saying emergency and cleanup crews were expected to work throughout the night and into Tuesday.

MacRae said the Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

The railway is owned by Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, which could not be reached for comment.

Last month, three cars from a train carrying steel plates derailed on the same railway in downtown New Glasgow. No one was hurt.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said five cars derailed and that the train was travelling from Pictou.

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