Railway Investigation R14W0256

Main-track derailment

The occurrence

On 7 October 2014, a derailment occurred at 10:30 a.m. Central Standard Time involving a Canadian National freight train near Clair, Saskatchewan, approximately 200 kilometres east of Saskatoon. Neither one of the two crew members on board was injured.

What we know

  • The train originated in Winnipeg and was destined for Saskatoon.
  • The train was travelling at 40 mph when a train-initiated brake application occurred.
  • The train had 100 cars (40 loaded and 60 empty cars).
  • Twenty-six cars derailed including six tank cars carrying dangerous goods:
    • Two tank cars were loaded with hydrochloric acid (UN 1789) but did not breach or release any product.
    • Two tank cars were loaded with sodium hydroxide (UN 1824) but did not breach or release any product.
    • Two tank cars loaded with petroleum distillates (UN 1268 - Class 3 PG III) were compromised and released product during the derailment which resulted in a fire.

Work to date

Three TSB investigators were on site following the occurrence. They inspected and documented the accident site and wreckage.

To date, the team has:

  • reviewed data from the locomotive event recorder;
  • interviewed the crew;
  • identified pieces of rail to be sent to the TSB's Engineering Laboratory in Ottawa for further analysis.

It is too soon to draw any conclusions.

Next steps

Investigators will:

  • review the mechanical condition of the rolling stock;
  • review the condition of the track infrastructure;
  • conduct a detailed damage assessment of all tank cars involved.

Communication of safety deficiencies

Should the investigation team uncover safety deficiencies that present an immediate risk, the Board will communicate them without delay to to the regulator and to the rail industry so they may be addressed.


Photo of Jerry Berriault

Jerry Berriault has been with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) since 2007. He is a senior regional investigator, Central Region, based out of the Winnipeg, Manitoba, office.

During his time at the TSB, he has been the investigator-in-charge of eight rail accident investigations and served as a team member in a number of other investigations throughout Canada providing operational and technical expertise.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Berriault held numerous positions with Canadian National Railway (CN) from 1980 until 2007, including superintendent of operations. While at CN he gained extensive knowledge of all aspects of train operations, including mechanical and engineering functions.

Map of the area


Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.


News releases


Update on the train derailment and fire near Clair, Saskatchewan
Read the news release

Deployment notices


Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys a team of investigators to derailment in Clair, Saskatchewan
Read the deployment notice