Rail safety measures
Federal agency endorses recommendations made in wake of Gogama train derailments
Transport Canada, the federal government agency that enforces transportation safety, said it fully supports the recommendations designed to make railway operations run more safely in Northern Ontario.
In a news release from Ottawa this past week, Transport Canada said it has accepted the key safety recommendation that resulted from the investigation into the derailment of a CN Rail train near Gogama two and a half years ago.
That investigation revealed that a broken section of rail – a piece of rail that had been recently repaired – was the cause of the derailment on March 7, 2015 on the CN mainline at the Makami River.
The investigation, carried out by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said Transport Canada should have been using more of the available data from inspections and repairs to foretell when problems might occur
The recommendation was made by TSB chair Kathy Fox at a news conference held in Sudbury on August 3.
Speaking after that news conference, Fox told The Daily Press that the single recommendation for analyzing more data is a realistic one despite the remoteness of CN’s mainline running through most of Northern Ontario. She said CN already gathers a significant amount of data on repairs and inspections, with much of the data containing indicators that could predict when a problem might occur.
“What we’re asking is for Transport Canada to get that information that the railways are already collecting and consider it, along with the other lagging indicators they traditionally have considered,” said Fox.
She said Transport Canada is mandated to carry out track inspections, but in this case that part of the Ruel Subdivision near Gogama had not been visually inspected by Transport Canada since 2012.
In the news release issued a few days ago, Transport Canada confirmed it has requested data on rail surface conditions from the Canadian National Railway and from the Canadian Pacific Railway; both have agreed to provide the information to the department on an ongoing basis. The information will be used to supplement the data that informs the department’s regulatory track inspections starting in 2018-19.
“I am deeply concerned every time there’s a derailment in Canada, whether it’s on a private, provincial or federal route. Rail safety is my top priority as Minister of Transport,” said federal transport minister Marc Garneau. He also thanked the TSB for its work in the investigation.
Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré said he too was pleased with the call to action by the TSB.
“I am confident that the adoption of the TSB recommendation will improve prevention of similar incidents from occurring in the future,” said Serré.
Transport Canada said it has accepted the recommendation from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board to make better use of available railway repair and inspection data to help prevent situations where problem indicators are inadvertently overlooked. This comes after it was revealed that the March 7, 2015 CN oil train derailment near Gogama was caused by a broken rail.