A Canadian Via Rail passenger train derailed west of Toronto Sunday, killing three railroad employees and injuring dozens of passengers, officials said.

Via Rail spokeswoman Michelle Lamarche said the three people killed were all railroad employees who were riding in the locomotive at the front of the train when it derailed in Burlington, Ontario.

Lamarche said no passengers died but 45 were injured. She said 75 people were on board the train traveling from Niagara Falls to Toronto when it derailed Sunday afternoon near Aldershot station.

Three passengers were airlifted to hospitals, one with a heart attack, another with a broken leg and the third with a back injury. Forty-two other passengers suffered less-serious injuries and were either treated at the scene or sent to local hospitals.

The locomotive and one passenger car flipped onto their sides and crashed into a small trackside building. At least two passengers car behind it were driven off the tracks into a L-shape. All six cars derailed, Via officials said.

"There's no question it's very tragic. We're a relatively small company, we're a family, we know everyone by name," Via chief operating officer John Marginson said at the scene.

"We certainly feel for the families of the colleagues that we lost."

Deanna Villela of Welland, Ontario, said she felt a slight bump before the train jumped off the tracks, sending people and luggage flying.

The crash lasted about 10 seconds but felt like forever, she said.

Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring also confirmed that three died. Goldring said the crash caused minor damage to nearby buildings.

Police haven't released any details about the accident.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is sending a crew of investigators to the scene. Lamarche said they will examine the date recorder on board.