More details about a fatal train derailment that killed three men near Field, B.C. are beginning to trickle out.
A little more than a year after the fatal Feb. 4, 2019 accident, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released an update about its investigation.
The update contains details about the circumstances of the accident, along with factual information collected during the investigation.
To date, the investigation team has examined and collected all relevant data from the accident site, examined and photographed the wreckage and identified components that require further examination. Investigators have also collected electronic data from the locomotives, including communication with the train crews, along with conducting interviews.
They also examined the context of the derailment, such as weather conditions, maintenance and inspection records for the derailed cars, train handling and train performance. The investigation also looked at Field Hill train operations and the railway’s winter operating plan. The TSB did this by performing cold-weather and shop tests on 13 grain hopper cars recovered from the site.
They are also looking into safety culture and operational oversight, among other things.
“CP fully supports an independent investigation into the Field derailment. In fact, such investigations are on-going, led by the Transportation Safety Board and Employment and Social Development Canada,” said Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for CP Rail, in an emailed statement.
“CP is open and willing to review the facts surrounding this event with the RCMP, the TSB and other authorized agencies and continues to cooperate fully.”
The update from the federal agency comes just over a week after the RCMP confirmed it would review the investigation into the train derailment.
The derailment killed three men from Calgary, including conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.
In total, 99 of the train’s 112 cars left the tracks as it came barrelling down the Spiral Tunnels out of control just east of Field.
The investigation by the TSB found the train started to move despite the fact it had been stopped using its air brakes at Partridge, the last station prior to the entrance to the Upper Spiral Tunnel. The train was stopped for about three hours before it began to “move on its own.”
The investigation also found that no hand brakes were applied to the train, which accelerated beyond the maximum track speed set at 20 mph, causing the train to derail. A new crew had also just boarded the train and were not yet ready to depart when it began to move.
The RCMP confirmed it will review the file after a seven-month-long investigation by the CBC, which aired on Jan. 26, revealed evidence of a possible “coverup” by the railway company.
CP Rail did not respond to an interview request at the time.
In response to the CBC investigation, the TSB released a statement on Jan. 28, claiming the investigation was thorough and followed procedure.