Rail news release 2009

TSB # R04/2009

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada Releases its Report into the Derailment and Loss of Life near Lillooet, British Columbia

(Gatineau, Quebec, May 28, 2009) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) releases its report (R06V0136) into the Canadian National freight train runaway and derailment near Lillooet, British Columbia, on June 29, 2006.

In the Lillooet investigation, the TSB learned that no risk assessment was done before removing locomotives with dynamic braking from this extreme mountain territory. In this and other investigations, the Board learned that risk assessments required by Canadian National's safety management system (SMS) are not always being performed. "Safety management systems are the right way to go," said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. "However, to make them work, there needs to be a firm and consistent commitment from the rail industry and the regulator," she added.

To protect North American railways and the people who work on them, the Board today recommends that:

Canadian National take effective action to identify and mitigate risks to safety as required by its safety management system, and the Department of Transport require Canadian National to do so.

The Board also voiced a safety concern with regard to brake shoe standards for today's rail rolling stock. "To make the rail system safer, we are calling for modern brake shoe standards for today's heavier cars," said Mrs. Tadros.

On June 29, 2006, while negotiating the sharp curves and steep grade into Lillooet, the train derailed when the car and locomotive brakes could not control the train's descent. The car derailed first and came to rest about 1000 feet down the mountain. Shortly afterward, the locomotive derailed and slid about 800 feet down the mountain. The conductor and trainman died and the locomotive engineer was taken to hospital with serious 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.

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