A Canadian National Railway travels through the Glendale area in Williams Lake Feb. 5. Angie Mindus photo

EDITORIAL: Safety should be a priority

CP Rail derailment earlier this week is a tragedy

It was terrible to hear the news this week of a fatal train crash that occurred in the early hours of Monday morning, east of Field.

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.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is investigating the derailment and held a news briefing Tuesday, giving some details.

Headed for Vancouver, the train came to a stop at the Spiral Tunnels, and the emergency brakes were deployed to prevent the train from moving.

Read More: Railway workers launch online fundraiser for families of CP Rail train victims

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, gathering speed and running off the tracks.

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 accident saw 112 train cars 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.

This latest incident will undoubtedly shine a light on the safety practices of CP Rail.

The union representing the workers who died in the derailment said Monday eight railway workers have now died in Canada since November 2017. Investigations into these accidents are still ongoing, they said.

“Today, our focus is on this accident as well as the victims’ friends and families. But moving forward, the government and the rail industry will have to recognize that something is wrong and change is needed. Eight workplace fatalities in a little over a year is not something that should be expected or accepted,” said Lyndon Isaack, President of the TCRC.

With more and more pressure being put on rail to transport our dangerous goods, we certainly hope necessary changes will be made to protect the workers and our environment. With files from Black Press.

— Williams Lake Tribune

*This editorial was corrected to reflect the train involved was a CP Rail train.

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