Rail news release 2007

TSB # R05/2007

THE TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD OF CANADA CONCERNED ABOUT REPLACEMENT RAILS IN ITS FINAL REPORT INTO THE 2005 DERAILMENT INTO LAKE WABAMUN

(Gatineau, Quebec, October 25, 2007) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its final report (R05E0059) into the derailment of a Canadian National freight train in the early morning of August 3, 2005. The TSB investigation found that the train derailed when the rail beneath it broke due to defects.

"In sports, it is widely held that the best defence is a good offence," said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "A good offence to prevent rail failures means doing three things: ensuring more accurate rail testing, discarding fatigued rail, and ensuring that replacement rail can carry the load," she added.

In its report, the Board makes two recommendations with respect to testing and replacing worn rail. The Board also focuses attention on an existing recommendation from 1993 and renews its call for a reassessment of the adequacy of current equipment and procedures for main-track rail testing.

On August 3, 2005, at about 5 o'clock mountain daylight time, a Canadian National freight train, proceeding westward from Edmonton, Alberta, to Vancouver, British Columbia, derailed 43 cars near Wabamun, Alberta. Included were one loaded car of pole treating oil, one car of toluene (UN 1294), and 25 loaded cars of Bunker C (heavy fuel oil). Approximately 700 000 litres of Bunker C and 88 000 litres of pole treating oil were spilled, causing extensive property, environmental, and biological damage. About 20 people were evacuated from the immediate area. There were no injuries.

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.

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The public report, R05E0059 and backgrounder are also available on this site.


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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca