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Nova Scotia derailment leaves Clarence’s premises twisted mess

Via Rail coach crashes into warehouse

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

STEWIACKE, Nova Scotia - Three customers and an employee ran for the door as a passenger car from a Via Rail coach jumped tracks and slammed into the warehouse next to Clarence Farm Services in this village northwest of Halifax. No one was hurt but the wreckage was considerable: a twisted mess of timber, insulation and scrap with in its middle the snarled metal of a passenger rail car. Three teenage boys who later were arrested, are suspected of having tampered with the switches of the railway.

Over a dozen of the passengers on the train - all with non-life threathening injuries - were treated in an area hospital.

To Clarence’s general manager Frank Van Gestel who arrived at the scene after the derailment, the fact that everyone got out of his buildings safely is ‘amazing’. A clerk had just left the warehouse and gone into the store when the rail coach crashed into the building. Both the man and the customers, sensed that something was wrong with the oncoming train and all ran for the door. The retail store itself only sustained minor damage.

The Stewiacke location is one of six operated by Clarence Farm Services, a company owned by Van Gestel and his inlaws, the Kloosterhofs. While Van Gestel arranges a temporary location in Stewiacke, customers are requested to go for supplies to the Truro store where the company under license produces its line of Purina animal food for the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick retail markets.