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Dangerous Commodities Classification and Placards

This card produced by CN Rail is entitled "What to Do at the Site of a Derailment." It provides instructions for emergency crews in dealing with train derailments and the risk of a hazardous materials leak.

What to do at the site of a derailment - CN

Actions a prendre sur les lieux d'un deraillement


What to Do at the Site of a Derailment


  • Contact the conductor, or other senior railway official at the site. He has documents which show if the train is carrying dangerous commodities.
  • All complete carloads of dangerous commodities in a train can be identified from the Emergency Response Forms included with train documents.
  • If railway personnel are incapacitated, you may obtain information on train contents from the documentation drawer in the caboose. However, this documentation must remain at the site. DO NOT APPROACH THE TRAIN UNLESS YOU’RE SURE IT’S SAFE TO DO SO!
  • Remember that tank cars often carry dangerous commodities, and the hazard from the contents of these cars may be greater.
  • If you must approach a train involved in an accident, where possible do so from upwind, and from high ground.
  • Do not crouch low; heavy toxic apours may collect at ground level.
  • Keep public away from site.
  • Smoking, sparks, or open flames may trigger a fire even from a distance if flammable substances are leaking.
  • Remember: Do not approach the train unless you're sure you can do so safely!
  • If train crew are not able to assist you, call CN police at one of the following numbers:
    • Atlantic Region – (506) 382-0551, local 370 (Atlantic provinces and Gaspe)
    • St. Lawrence Region – 9514) 866 – 5624 (Quebec and Ottawa region)
    • Great Lakes Region – (416) 368-1066 (Ontario south and central)
    • Prairie Region – (204) 946-2600 (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and N.W. Ontario)
    • Mountain Region – (403) 421-6225 (Alberta and British Columbia)

CN Police offices have access to regional CN Rail Operations Control Centres where the consist of every train, including information about any dangerous commodities being carried, is available from the computer.

Dangerous Commodities: Classifications and Placards

This brochure, produced by CN Rail, provides a reference to placards used to warn of hazardous goods being shipped.

 Cover of brochure Dangerous Commodities: Classification and Placards

 Class 1: Explosives

Class 2: Gases 

 Class 3: Flammable Liquids

Class 4: Flammable Solids 

 Classes 5 and 6: Oxidizing materials and poisonous materials

 Classes 7 and 8: Radioactive substances, corrosives, and other placards



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