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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Transportation Safety Board: Unsecured load led to CP derailment

The incident occurred when the leading end of a boxcar struck a 21-foot section of stock rail that had fallen from the end of the preceding A-frame flat car.
Photo – Transportation Safety Board of Canada


Inadequate securement of cargo on an A-frame flat car led to the derailment of Canadian Pacific train near Saint-Polycarpe, Quebec, in July 2018, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) announced last week.

The incident occurred when the leading end of a boxcar struck a 21-foot section of stock rail that had fallen from the end of the preceding A-frame flat car. The stock rail had been loaded in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with unbundled crossties on the deck of the flat car and secured using two loops of steel banding routed through anchor rings. 

The securement technique did not provide sufficient lateral restraint. The load, with heavier stock rail on top, gradually shifted laterally under normal train operation and eventually fell over, allowing the two loops of steel banding to come loose. One of the loops broke and the stock rail fell from the car, leading to the derailment, TSB officials said in a press release.

Twenty-two cars derailed. No injuries were reported and no dangerous goods were released.

TSB investigators also determined that the top load securement on the flat car had not been inspected to Railway Association of Canada standards before the car was released for shipment to its destination. 

The TSB issued a rail safety advisory to Transport Canada regarding CP's open top loading practices. TC responded that it had followed up with the railroad and that it had adequately addressed the issue.

For its part, CP issued a issued a written procedure on loading and inspection of A-frame flat cars and trained its employees on this new procedure, TSB officials said.

Meanwhile, the TSB is investigating last week's derailment of a CP crude-oil train near Guernsey, Saskatchewan. Initial site examination determined that the covered hopper car in the second position and the following 33 tank cars had derailed.

The derailed tank cars consisted of a mix of nine Class 117R and 24 CPC-1232 Class 111 tank cars. No injuries were reported.

The head-end 23 tank cars derailed east of the crossing and came to rest in various positions in a large pile over a distance of about 500 feet. About 20 of the 23 tank cars sustained breaches, released crude oil and became engulfed in a large pool fire that burned for 24 hours.

A preliminary examination determined that 19 of the cars lost their entire loads, releasing 1.5 million liters of oil into the ground or atmosphere. A more precise determination of the tank car damage and the amount of product released will be made as product is recovered and the investigation progresses, TSB officials said.

No waterways appear to be affected. The tail end 10 cars derailed west of the crossing, sustained minimal damage and remained intact with no loss of product, they said.