A team of Transport Canada investigators was in Revelstoke last week to study a section of CP Rail track in the Greely area in connection with an incident that took place in February.
CP Rail is being investigated for allegedly parking a train without hand brakes 10 kilometres east of Revelstoke on the night of Feb. 15.
The CBC reported in June that a team of Transport Canada investigators entered the CP Rail headquarters in Calgary in May as part of an investigation into the incident in which a train carrying dangerous goods was allegedly stopped on the tracks at Greely the night running tradespeople went on strike in February.
Last Tuesday, Sept. 15, five Transport Canada personnel were in Revelstoke to continue their investigation of the incident, confirmed a spokesperson for Transport Canada.
The investigators brought with them an Engineering Assessment Vehicle that is used to measure environmental hazards on a section of track.
The Transport Canada officials placed the vehicle on the CP Rail tracks at the Greeley crossing near the City of Revelstoke water treatment plant, then proceeded to travel down the track eastward towards the Twin Butte siding. They did not speak to the Review before leaving, and were gone for at least 90 minutes.
The vehicle is “generally used to assess railway track slopes in high risk areas, due to environmental conditions like mud slides, debris flows, rock fall and snow avalanches,” wrote spokesperson Sara Johnston. “If the system captures a measure that is out of the rule’s threshold, an alert will be displayed and the information will be re-evaluated and confirmed by a qualified Transport Canada track inspector.”
The vehicle can also measure curves, track gauge and the difference in height between two rails in a track, but it does not measure steepness of grade.
Johnston would not say exactly what the vehicle was being used for last Tuesday morning, saying they couldn’t comment on an ongoing investigation.
According to a warrant filed in court and obtained by the CBC, CP Rail and superintendent Mark Jackson are alleged to have violated the Rail Safety Act by leaving 57 rail cars unattended without the hand brakes applied the night crews went on strike in February.
According to the warrant, Train 401 was on its way west to Revelstoke when the crew were told to stop at Greely, 10 kilometres east, and uphill, of Revelstoke. Because of the impending strike, the crew radioed in to say there wasn’t enough time to apply the handbrakes as required.
The call then came back to not apply the handbrakes. According to the warrant, the order came from Jackson himself. The conductor, who was interviewed by Transport Canada inspectors in April, complied with the order. She notified her union representative, who forwarded her e-mail to Transport Canada.
The train was later moved without incident.