Railway Investigation Report R94Q0074

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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Canadian Pacific Limited
Yard Assignment No. Q-248-18 and Locomotive No. 1817
Mile 82.3, Trois-Rivières Subdivision
Trois-Rivières, Quebec
18 December 1994


On 18 December 1994, at approximately 2150 eastern standard time (EST), Canadian Pacific Limited (CP) Yard Assignment No. Q-248-18, travelling westward on the shop track, was struck by locomotive No. 1817, moving from the fuel track at the Trois-Rivières Main Yard, at Mile 82.3 of the CP Trois-Rivières Subdivision. There were no injuries.

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Other Factual Information

The Trois-Rivières Main Yard is a minor switching yard. Yard assignment No. Q-248-18 (the yard assignment), using locomotive No. 1852, was performing switching operations in the east end of the yard. At approximately 2130 EST, the crew on the yard assignment obtained permission from the yardmaster to exchange their locomotive for locomotive No. 1817 which was standing on the fuel track. A hostler overheard the radio conversation between the yard crew and the yardmaster concerning the locomotive exchange. He notified the yardmaster that he intended to move locomotive No. 1817 out of the fuel track to better accommodate the exchange with locomotive No. 1852. The hostler immediately went to the fuel track, observed that the fuel track switch was lined against his movement and boarded locomotive No. 1817. He planned to reverse toward the fuel track switch, stop foul of the switch, detrain and reverse the switch. The hostler would then move the locomotive eastward to clear the fuel track switch, stop, return the switch to the normal position, and then move the locomotive onto the shop track.

The yard assignment crew, unaware of the hostler's intentions, planned to move locomotive No. 1852 westward along the shop track past the fuel track switch, and leave it standing on an adjacent shop track. As the yard crew moved along the shop track with the short-hood leading, they observed that the switch to the fuel track was lined for their intended movement and that locomotive No. 1817 was standing clear of the switch. As they moved through the crossover, they noticed locomotive No. 1817 (long-hood leading) with the headlight illuminated, begin a reverse movement eastward toward the switch. As locomotive No. 1852 continued crossing the fuel track switch, locomotive No. 1817 struck the side of locomotive No. 1852. Both locomotives sustained minor damage and the L-3 and L-4 wheels of locomotive No. 1817 derailed. Approximately 39 feet of track was extensively damaged.

The Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR), mandating the movement of trains and engines on main tracks, require that an employee be positioned to advise the locomotive engineer when he can safely put his train in motion. CROR does not, however, apply to designated shop and fuel tracks. CP requirements permit hostlers to move locomotives without CROR qualification or observance of all CROR requirements.


When the hostler was at the controls, the orientation of locomotive No. 1817 placed him in a position where he could not see the approaching movement. The hostler initiated the move without a clear view in the intended direction and without another employee in position to relay route information.


  1. The hostler moved locomotive No. 1817 without being able to see eastward from his position in the operating compartment.
  2. CROR does not apply to such movements, although CROR requirements covering similar operations on main tracks are designed to avert this type of accident.


The collision resulted when the hostler moved the locomotive foul of the shop track without a clear view of the track ahead.

Safety Action

CP has developed a training program for engine attendants, hostlers and helpers. The program deals with company policy and practices when locomotives are being moved within servicing areas.

This report concludes the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into this occurrence. Consequently, the Board, consisting of Chairperson, John W. Stants, and members Zita Brunet and Maurice Harquail, authorized the release of this report on 24 April 1996.