News release

Inadequate training and supervision contributed to a collision and derailment between a freight train and a stationary iron ore train near Mai, Quebec

Gatineau, Quebec, 31 March 2014 – Highlighting an issue on its Watchlist, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released today its investigation report (R13Q0001) into the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway (QNS&L) collision and derailment between a freight train and stationary iron ore train that occurred near Mai, Quebec, in January 2013. The investigation identified the issue of not following signal indications as a contributory factor.

On the evening of 11 January 2013, a QNS&L freight train departed the yard at Sept-Îles, Quebec, travelling north to Schefferville, Quebec. On its way, it collided with the rear end of a stationary QNS&L iron ore train near Mai. The first locomotive of the freight train was completely destroyed and the second locomotive derailed. Eight cars on the iron ore train also derailed. The freight train crew members sustained minor injuries. Approximately 40 feet of track was damaged.

The investigation determined that the freight train passed a signal displaying a restricting indication, but did not reduce its 40 mph speed. Hence, it could not stop in time despite an emergency brake application. It was also determined that the locomotive engineer trainee who was at the controls of the train had not yet received Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) training and, as a result, did not have a complete grasp of measures required under a restricting indication.

On 16 January 2013, the TSB issued Rail Safety Advisory 02/13 to Transport Canada regarding the importance of comprehensive training for safe train operations. On 5 March 2013, Transport Canada indicated that its Quebec Regional Office conducted an in-depth review of the training and supervision of QNS&L employees.

Watch the video on Following Railway Signal Indications.

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