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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

Princeton snow removal costs top $40k in December

Costs of snow removal to the Town of Princeton skyrocketed in December.… Continue reading

Province says it is monitoring AIM’s road maintenance

The provincial transportation ministry is working closely with new road contractor AIM,… Continue reading

Princeton – a Prince Town in waiting?

The Town of Princeton has been waiting 160 years for a Royal… Continue reading

RCMP release photos of man wanted in Princeton armed robbery

RCMP have released photos and a description of the man suspected of… Continue reading

Huawei exec’s extradition hearing begins in Canada

China’s foreign ministry complained the United States and Canada were violating Meng’s rights

Prince Harry: ‘Powerful media’ is why he’s stepping away

Prince Harry and Megan have stepped away from their royal commitments

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Kelowna’s Tess Critchlow gears up for World Cup at Big White

Critchlow is a professional snowboarder competing for Team Canada in the boardercross competition

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

Most Read