TSB releases investigation into Kingston train collision

Damage sustained by the VIA train during the collision on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Photo courtesy of the TSB.

Derailed tanker cars caused a side-swipe collision of a VIA rail passenger train on route from Toronto to Ottawa, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The collision occurred just after 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. No passengers or crew were injured. The following information was reported by the TSB on Friday, Jul. 10, 2020.

The operating crew of the VIA passenger train observed two tanker cars on a track immediately south of their track, leaning north, into its travelling space. The VIA crew applied the emergency braking system, followed by an emergency radio broadcast, but was unable to stop the train in time to avoid swiping the tanker cars.

Image courtesy of TSB

The south side of the eastbound VIA train suffered extensive damage. The tanker cars sustained damage as well, both to the running gear and tank car jackets.

The crew at the industrial track near Ernestown had just completed clearing the track for the VIA Rail train to proceed along its course, having moved 18 cars from the South main track.

The original intent had been to place those cars onto the track immediately south of the South main track, but it was determined there was not enough space for all 18 cars. The crew decided to place the cars on the second track as it was determined there would be enough space.

The conductor was lax in observing the progress of the lead car, and instructed the engineer to stop once it was determined the cars were clear of the lead track. Unfortunately the crew remained unaware that they had shoved the cars into the track immediately north of them, and caused the derailment of the two tanker cars.

Loyalist firefighters staging near the site of the train collision near Jim Snow Drive on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Photo by Cris Vilela.

The incident occurred west of Kingston, in the vicinity of Jim Snow Drive.

VIA Rail provided a replacement train and crew to continue the route interrupted by this collision.

“Safety is a core value at CN and the company is performing a permanent and ongoing audit of its life critical rules application and comprehension across the network. When any issues are identified, CN’s safety experts address them by offering specialized re-training with the employees in question to ensure that the application of rules is held to the highest standard to protect employees, the communities where we operate and customers,” Jonathan Abecassis, a spokesperson for CN said in a statement to Kingstonist.

“CN would like to apologize for the impact and inconvenience caused by this incident.”

Our initial coverage of this incident can be found here: https://www.kingstonist.com/news/investigation-into-train-collision-west-of-kingston-continues/

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