The letter called into question the effectiveness of the No. 1 brake test, which the train had passed prior to departing Calgary, heading towards Field. (CP Rail photo)

The letter called into question the effectiveness of the No. 1 brake test, which the train had passed prior to departing Calgary, heading towards Field. (CP Rail photo)

Train brake test called into question by TSB after fatal Field derailment probe

The derailment, which occured in Feb. 2019, killed three crew members

The effectiveness of the No. 1 brake test, which is conducted on trains to ensure they are up to safety regulations to operate, has been called into question recently by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The TSB released a letter, which was issued on April 17, 2020, is a part of the ongoing investigation into the CP train derailment that occurred near Field on Feb. 4, 2019, fatally injuring conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.

Read more: TSB released update on Field derailment investigation

“Given this information, Transport Canada (TC) is advised that an alternate approach to determining the effectiveness of freight car air brakes is required to ensure that departing trains have sufficient effective brakes to operate safely,” the board wrote.

“The TSB would appreciate being advised of TC’s position on this issue, and what action, if any, will be taken in this regard.”

The train involved in the derailment was a distributed power train with one lead, one mid and one tail-end locomotive, had received and passed a No. 1 brake test before departing Calgary and heading toward Field.

A review of CP’s Health and Safety Committee hazard notifications revealed multiple instances of crews controlling speed descending the Field Hill in winter operating conditions.

According to these hazard notifications, there were issues with air brake performance on other unit grain trains travelling the same line, all of which had passed the No. 1 brake test.

Read more: Runaway rail car reported on same train line as fatal 2019 derailment near Field

To pass the No. 1 brake test, the regulations require that at least 95 per cent of air brakes to be operative on trains departing designated safety inspection locations. The actual brake force or its effect is not physically measured.

The TSB has advised TC that the No. 1 brake test does not reliably identify ineffective brakes in rail cars.

TC has not yet responded to the letter, although they are not required to do so. According to a TC spokeswoman Frederica Depuis, the ministry is reviewing the letter.

“Rail safety is the top priority for the minister of transport and the department is continuously looking for ways to make our railway system safer for Canadians,” she said.

“We share the Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s commitment to advancing the safety of Canada’s transportation system and are committed to working with our partners to further enhance the safety of Canada’s railway system.”

Read more: RCMP to review fatal Field train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The investigation is still ongoing, with a full investigation report expected upon completion.

The derailment became a national story earlier this year, when it became the source of a fifth-estate investigation through the CBC. Golden resident and former CP Police Service officer has been critical of CP’s processes that led to the derailment, believing an internal cover-up cut his investigation into the derailment short.

~ With files from The Canadian Press


Claire Palmer
Editor for the Golden Star
Email me at claire.palmer@thegoldenstar.net
Follow me on Twitter

Transportation Safety Board

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

Just Posted

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth (Black Press files)
B.C. watchdog says mentally ill children and youth retraumatized in hospital

The number of children held under the Mental Health Act has increased an alarming 162 per cent in past decade

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a threat was made at Woodgrove Centre on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (News Bulletin file photo)
Threat directed at Nanaimo mall, RCMP investigating

Police have searched areas of Woodgrove Centre accessible to shoppers and have deemed it safe

A pinniped was attacked by an unseen predator off the shores of Dallas Road Monday night. (Courtesy of Steffani Cameron)
VIDEO: Seal hunting, not being hunted in video shot off Victoria waterfront

Victoria woman captures footage of pinniped activity off Dallas Road

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau vows to keep up the fight to sway U.S. on merits of Keystone XL pipeline

Canada’s pitch to the Biden team has framed Keystone XL as a more environmentally friendly project than original

The British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) sent out a sharply worded release late last week, in which it noted that the Tourism Industry Association of BC recently obtained a ‘legal opinion’ on the matter (Alex Passini photo)
Hotel associations push back against any potential ban on inter-provincial, non-essential travel restrictions

B.C. Premier John Horgan is seeking legal advice on banning non-essential travel

(News Bulletin file photo)
Car crashes along the Nanaimo Parkway, driver abandons vehicle

Mazda with ‘extensive damage’ found in the ditch in the early-morning hours Jan. 19

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
COVID rapid tests in long-term care key during vaccine rollout: B.C. care providers

‘Getting kits into the hands of care providers should be a top priority,’ says former Health Minister

Most Read