The letter called into question the effectiveness of the No. 1 brake test, which the train had passed prior to departing Calgary, heading towards Field. (CP Rail photo)

Train brake test called into question by TSB after fatal Field derailment probe

The derailment, which occured in Feb. 2019, killed three crew members

The effectiveness of the No. 1 brake test, which is conducted on trains to ensure they are up to safety regulations to operate, has been called into question recently by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The TSB released a letter, which was issued on April 17, 2020, is a part of the ongoing investigation into the CP train derailment that occurred near Field on Feb. 4, 2019, fatally injuring conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

Read more: TSB released update on Field derailment investigation

“Given this information, Transport Canada (TC) is advised that an alternate approach to determining the effectiveness of freight car air brakes is required to ensure that departing trains have sufficient effective brakes to operate safely,” the board wrote.

“The TSB would appreciate being advised of TC’s position on this issue, and what action, if any, will be taken in this regard.”

The train involved in the derailment was a distributed power train with one lead, one mid and one tail-end locomotive, had received and passed a No. 1 brake test before departing Calgary and heading toward Field.

A review of CP’s Health and Safety Committee hazard notifications revealed multiple instances of crews controlling speed descending the Field Hill in winter operating conditions.

According to these hazard notifications, there were issues with air brake performance on other unit grain trains travelling the same line, all of which had passed the No. 1 brake test.

Read more: Runaway rail car reported on same train line as fatal 2019 derailment near Field

To pass the No. 1 brake test, the regulations require that at least 95 per cent of air brakes to be operative on trains departing designated safety inspection locations. The actual brake force or its effect is not physically measured.

The TSB has advised TC that the No. 1 brake test does not reliably identify ineffective brakes in rail cars.

TC has not yet responded to the letter, although they are not required to do so. According to a TC spokeswoman Frederica Depuis, the ministry is reviewing the letter.

“Rail safety is the top priority for the minister of transport and the department is continuously looking for ways to make our railway system safer for Canadians,” she said.

“We share the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s commitment to advancing the safety of Canada’s transportation system and are committed to working with our partners to further enhance the safety of Canada’s railway system.”

Read more: RCMP to review fatal Field train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The investigation is still ongoing, with a full investigation report expected upon completion.

The derailment became a national story earlier this year, when it became the source of a fifth-estate investigation through the CBC. Golden resident and former CP Police Service officer has been critical of CP’s processes that led to the derailment, believing an internal cover-up cut his investigation into the derailment short.

~ With files from The Canadian Press


Claire Palmer
Editor for the Golden Star
Email me at claire.palmer@thegoldenstar.net
Follow me on Twitter

Transportation Safety Board

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

Just Posted

Pay parking returns to Kelowna’s waterfront

Other areas will remain no-charge until June 15

Rogers Communications begins virtual hiring for 350 jobs in Kelowna

Rogers is hiring for its new Customer Solutions Centre

UPDATE: Burning sparks $200,000 in damage to old Oyama factory

Fire crews respond in full force to blaze on Pelmewash Parkway

Kelowna Mountie faces internal review after ‘uncooperative’ arrest

“A thorough internal review of this officer’s actions is currently underway,” said Kelowna RCMP Supt. Brent Mundle.

Waterparks, rec facilities in Kelowna may reopen late June

‘What we think the plan is today, may change tomorrow’

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Morning Start: #BlackLivesMatter started with a love letter

Your morning start for Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

High water levels on Shuswap Lake may close popular Canoe Beach

Rain forecast could flood entrance tunnel, city staff to evaluate

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

Summerland man rescued following ATV accident

Helicopters used to transport injured man to Kelowna for treatment

Vernon videographer captures thunderstorm

See the ‘best bits’ of Saturday’s storm

Most Read