A train derailment is shown near Field, B.C., Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

Investigators still determining why the train began rolling

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) held a news briefing on its investigation into the CP Rail derailment that occurred in the early hours of Monday morning, east of Field.

An initial investigation suggests that the train lost control near the top of the Spiral Tunnels, which has been the location of other train accidents, as recently as January 3, 2019.

Three men lost their lives in the derailment that occurred around 1 a.m. MST on February 4, just east of Field, B.C. All three of the men were from Calgary: conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

READ MORE: Railway workers launch online fundraiser for families of CP Rail train victims

READ MORE: Three crew members die in train derailment near Field

The crew had just changed over in Partridge, as the previous crew was reaching their maximum hours worked. The train then made its way west, headed for Vancouver. It came to a stop at the Spiral Tunnels, and the emergency brakes were deployed to prevent the train from moving.

While the train was stopped, initial investigations show that it began to move, even with the brakes deployed. The maximum speed in that area is 20 MPH, and 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/pipeline investigator James Carmichael with the Transportation Safety Board. “The loss of control was a situation where the crew members can no longer maintain the designated track speed. At this time, we still don’t have an exact number of how fast they were travelling.”

The TSB will look into the grade of the tracks in that area, the curvature, and many other elements that could have lead to the accident. Investigators will also look into other investigations performed in the past, and contact part manufacturers,and those who build the components of the train.

The train was originated in Red Deer, and the previous crew transported it to Partridge, where the new crew took over, headed for Vancouver.

When the train had stopped, it was waiting for clearance to ensure there wasn’t any opposing traffic on the tracks. The train did not receive clearance, and began moving on its own, gathering speeds and running off the tracks, killing the three-man crew inside.

“Lots of time when they’re there, they have to wait for the signal before they go so there’s no opposing traffic,” Carmichael said. “We’re going to try to determine why the brakes didn’t stay in place.”

The accident lead 112 train cars to plummet down the steep terrain, coming to a crash at the end, with one car in the Kicking Horse River. The cars were carrying grain, and 40 to 60 cars derailed.

The TSB hasn’t yet had the opportunity to speak with the previous crew that was on board, and the investigation is still in the early stages. Investigators are on site, working with others, to work out what happened between the Spiral Tunnels and the embankment of the Kicking Horse River.

“Investigation will determine how and why the loss of control took place,” Carmichael said.

It is common for CP Rail to run a two-person crew on their trains, but in this instance, there were three with trainee Waldenberger-Bulmer. When asked if this is a typical route for trainees to be working in, given the steep terrain and safety precautions that must be followed, Carmichael said that CP Rail runs their trainee program across Canada to train them as conductors.

“Their trainee program is to train new employees how to operate through all territories. It is done all across Canada,” he said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A union representative says a Canadian Pacific freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary in a derailment that killed three crew members. The westbound freight jumped the tracks Monday at about 1 a.m. near Field, B.C. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Just Posted

AlleyCATS Okanagan: Pet of the week

Add a little Spritz and Cider to your summer

Kelowna’s COVID-19 cluster jumps to 13 cases

Several areas of the city were exposed to the virus

Air Canada’s non-stop Kelowna to Toronto flights set to resume August 2

Air Canada halted much of its non-stop routes in March due to COVID-19

Rare comet NEOWISE and aurora lights captured in Okanagan

The image was captured over Big Horn Lake near Kelowna with a Pixel 4XL android phone

‘We know people are going to come to Kelowna’: Basran addresses COVID-19 cluster

The mayor said people need to continue following the advice of the medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

‘Resistance’ from Interior Health puts races in Penticton on hold

It’s unknown if races planned for this weekend at the Penticton Speedway will take place

Fundraiser kick-started for Vernon woman battling tongue cancer

Woman’s four-year-old twins are the driving force behind her fight

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Oliver Town Hall reopens to public as COVID-19 test comes back negative

Town Hall was closed briefly as a staff member showed multiple COVID-19 symptoms

Lake Country beachgoers reminded to maintain distance amid COVID-19

Signage, park rangers, park patrol students in place to monitor busy beaches in Central Okanagan

RCMP to investigate hate-motivated vandalism in Summerland

Swastikas and other graffiti spray painted on house and at bandshell

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Most Read