The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has sent two safety advisories to federal regulators as part of their investigation into the train derailment that killed three men near Field, B.C. in February.
TSB released its latest update into the fatal incident Thursday, advising Transport Canada to ensuree that effective safety procedures are applied to all trains stopped in emergency cases on both “heavy grade” and “mountain grades.”
Transport Canada should also review the efficacy of air brake system inspections and maintenance procedures for grain hopper cars used in unit train operations, the letter advises, and ensure that those cars will be operated safely at all times.
The train derailment on Feb. 4 caused 99 cars and two locomotives to derail at the Spiral Tunnels, located near the B.C.-Alberta border. Conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell, and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer were killed in the incident. All three men were from Calgary.
Update: We issued 2 safety advisories as part of investigation R19C0015 into the Feb. 4 fatal train derailment near Field, BC @Transport_gc @CanadianPacific @CNRailway @RailCanada @RailwayAge @rail_pro_mag @TrainsMagazine https://t.co/z8rFIRCoxw pic.twitter.com/0a6FGWQjq9
— TSB of Canada (@TSBCanada) April 18, 2019
TSB investigators said it appears the train somehow began to move. The maximum speed in that area is 20 miles per hour, and once in motion the train began to move faster down the steep terrain.
“There was not anything the crew did. The train just started moving on its own,” said railway and pipeline investigator James Carmichael with the Transportation Safety Board.
Shortly after the incident, Transport Canada issued a mandatory hand braking protocol for when a train is stopped on a mountain grade.
At the time, Transportation Minister Marc Garneau said the order will remain in effect as long as necessary.
To date, the TSB has collected data from the accident site, electronic data from the locomotives, conducted interviews, examined and photographed the wreckage, and has been identifying components for further examination by the TSB Engineering Laboratory.
The investigation team has been augmented by investigators from the TSB Engineering Laboratory and the TSB Human Factors Division.
The next steps will include the examination of weather conditions and the railway’s winter operating plan, train operations specific to the Field Hill, operational policies for mountain grade train operations, railway training specific to the reliability of air brakes in extreme cold temperatures, maintenance history of the rolling stock, regulatory requirements.
– With files from Ashley Wadhwani and Liam Harrap