OHS Canada Magazine

Not enough being done to reduce runaway rail cars: TSB

March 20, 2018
By The Canadian Press
Health & Safety Transportation Illness Prevention Injury occupational health and safety Public Health & Safety workplace fatality

SASKATOON – A report into a runaway railway car that rumbled through part of Saskatoon says not enough is being done to reduce such uncontrolled movements.

The Transportation Safety Board says the crew did not connect the air breaks on the railway car and there was no safety device called a derail to prevent it from moving onto the main track.

No one was hurt when the empty Canadian Pacific Railway freight car rolled across two public crossings in the early morning hours of March 27, 2016, before coming to a stop on the tracks.

The board notes its investigation into the fatal 2013 Lac-Megantic accident called on Transport Canada to require railways to put systems in place to prevent runaway equipment.

The explosion and fire in the Quebec town caused by runaway rail cars carrying crude oil killed 47 people and destroyed more than 30 buildings.


The report into the Saskatoon case says runaways that get on the main track can present the greatest risk.

“These types of occurrences can have severe consequences, particularly if dangerous goods are involved,” says the report released Tuesday. “As demonstrated in Lac-Megantic, the cost to human life and our communities can be incalculable.”

The board says following the Saskatoon case Canadian Pacific resumed the use of air brakes during switching operations.

Copyright (c) 2018 The Canadian Press


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