A train derailment is shown near Field, B.C., Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

B.C. train that derailed and killed three ‘just started moving on its own’

Investigators still determining why the train began rolling

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) held a news briefing on its investigation into the CP Rail derailment that occurred in the early hours of Monday morning, east of Field.

An initial investigation suggests that the train lost control near the top of the Spiral Tunnels, which has been the location of other train accidents, as recently as January 3, 2019.

Three men lost their lives in the derailment that occurred around 1 a.m. MST on February 4, just east of Field, B.C. All three of the men were from Calgary: conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

READ MORE: Railway workers launch online fundraiser for families of CP Rail train victims

READ MORE: Three crew members die in train derailment near Field

The crew had just changed over in Partridge, as the previous crew was reaching their maximum hours worked. The train then made its way west, headed for Vancouver. It came to a stop at the Spiral Tunnels, and the emergency brakes were deployed to prevent the train from moving.

While the train was stopped, initial investigations show that it began to move, even with the brakes deployed. The maximum speed in that area is 20 MPH, and the train began to move faster down the steep terrain.

“There was not anything the crew did, the train just started moving on its own,” said railway/pipeline investigator James Carmichael with the Transportation Safety Board. “The loss of control was a situation where the crew members can no longer maintain the designated track speed. At this time, we still don’t have an exact number of how fast they were travelling.”

The TSB will look into the grade of the tracks in that area, the curvature, and many other elements that could have lead to the accident. Investigators will also look into other investigations performed in the past, and contact part manufacturers,and those who build the components of the train.

The train was originated in Red Deer, and the previous crew transported it to Partridge, where the new crew took over, headed for Vancouver.

When the train had stopped, it was waiting for clearance to ensure there wasn’t any opposing traffic on the tracks. The train did not receive clearance, and began moving on its own, gathering speeds and running off the tracks, killing the three-man crew inside.

“Lots of time when they’re there, they have to wait for the signal before they go so there’s no opposing traffic,” Carmichael said. “We’re going to try to determine why the brakes didn’t stay in place.”

The accident lead 112 train cars to plummet down the steep terrain, coming to a crash at the end, with one car in the Kicking Horse River. The cars were carrying grain, and 40 to 60 cars derailed.

The TSB hasn’t yet had the opportunity to speak with the previous crew that was on board, and the investigation is still in the early stages. Investigators are on site, working with others, to work out what happened between the Spiral Tunnels and the embankment of the Kicking Horse River.

“Investigation will determine how and why the loss of control took place,” Carmichael said.

It is common for CP Rail to run a two-person crew on their trains, but in this instance, there were three with trainee Waldenberger-Bulmer. When asked if this is a typical route for trainees to be working in, given the steep terrain and safety precautions that must be followed, Carmichael said that CP Rail runs their trainee program across Canada to train them as conductors.

“Their trainee program is to train new employees how to operate through all territories. It is done all across Canada,” he said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

A union representative says a Canadian Pacific freight train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge near the Alberta-British Columbia boundary in a derailment that killed three crew members. The westbound freight jumped the tracks Monday at about 1 a.m. near Field, B.C. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Just Posted

Northwest Wave Riders return from Victoria Dragon Boat Festival

This was the first time in 25 years that northern B.C. teams competed

Feds approve $4M for Tahltan protected and conserved areas

Well defined stewardship will help nation reduce uncertainties for resource partners

BC Parks student rangers complete several northwest B.C. conservation projects

This was the first time the summer program operated out of Terrace

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read