The Transportation Safety Board says it knows what caused the derailment of a train that departed Winnipeg.
In May 2014, the CN freight train left here bound for Chicago.
35 cars, including two loaded with molten sulphur, went off the tracks near Fort Frances, in Northwestern Ontario.
After its investigation, the T-S-B determined poor track conditions and delays in maintenance led to the incident.
There were no injuries but 500 feet of track was destroyed.
The following statement is CN’s response to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada Investigation Report R14W0137 that was issued regarding the freight train derailment on CN’s Fort Frances Subdivision on May 23, 2014:
CN collaborated extensively with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) in its investigation of the unfortunate train derailment that occurred May 23, 2014, on the Fort Frances Subdivision in northwestern Ontario. CN also conducted a lengthy review of the accident in cooperation with Transport Canada, the rail safety regulator. CN seeks to learn from every accident and to continuously strengthen its Safety Management System (SMS) in order to reduce main track derailments to an absolute minimum.
CN is committed to address the areas of improvement identified by the TSB investigation in order to strengthen its SMS. CN’s SMS is a proactive, comprehensive program designed to minimize risk and continually reduce accidents and injuries. As part of its commitment to running a safe railway, CN plans to invest a record C$2.9 billion this year in its capital program, of which C$1.5 billion will be spent on track infrastructure. The infrastructure work will include the replacement of rail, ties, and other track materials, as well as bridge improvements and targeted branch line upgrades.
CN concurs with the TSB’s findings and analysis pointing to a combination of factors that ultimately caused this accident on the Fort Frances Subdivision. Spring weather and ground conditions following an extremely difficult winter, an area of weaker track conditions, and elevated in-train forces worked together to cause the train derailment.
CN also acknowledges that it should ideally have implemented the significant track infrastructure improvements it had planned for the Fort Frances Subdivision more quickly. But it is equally important to note that the TSB report recognizes several key strengths of CN’s SMS, including:
· A proactive corridor risk assessment CN conducted on the Fort Frances Subdivision prior to the accident;
· The company’s multi-faceted inspection process to closely monitor evolving track conditions at frequencies that far exceed regulatory requirements, and
· CN’s multi-year infrastructure maintenance planning process that identified the need for a track upgrade program scheduled for 2014 on the Fort Frances Subdivision and executed that summer.