CN Rail's cross-country line blocked as rail cars burn

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway said its main railway line across the country remained blocked on Monday after a train carrying crude oil derailed in northern Ontario two days ago, setting seven rail cars on fire. The derailment is obstructing trains running between Montreal and Winnipeg, Manitoba and shipments along the corridor will be delayed by at least 24 hours, Canada's largest railway said. The train, heading from Alberta's oil sands to eastern Canada, derailed late Saturday about 80 km (50 miles) south of Timmins, Ontario in a remote wooded area. CN said 29 of 100 cars were involved and seven had caught fire. No injuries were reported. Cars were still on fire on Monday. "CN (has) safely removed derailed cars from the right of way, allowing workers to get closer to the core of the derailment, where a fire is still burning," CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said via email. A crude oil spill is being contained in the derailment area, CN said. Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are on site. CN said no waterways appear to have been affected by the spill. The closure of CN's main line comes as workers at Canada's No. 2 rail operator Canadian Pacific Railway went on strike on Sunday, threatening to snarl rail traffic across the country. Cross-country passenger rail operator Via Rail said it had canceled trains between Toronto and Winnipeg due to the block on the CN main line. A boom in oil shipments by rail and a spate of derailments across North America have put heightened focus on rail safety. In 2013, 47 people were killed in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic after a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded. (Reporting by Amran Abocar; Editing by Andrea Ricci)