Track failure led to train derailment in northern B.C.: safety board

No one was hurt when 34 cars carrying wood pellets left the tracks

A train derailment near Kitwanga, B.C., between Smithers and Terrace, is shown in this January 2020 handout photo. The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January. The Canadian National Railway Co. train was travelling between Smithers and Terrace when 34 rail cars carrying wood pellets derailed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Transportation Safety Board of Canada

A train derailment near Kitwanga, B.C., between Smithers and Terrace, is shown in this January 2020 handout photo. The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January. The Canadian National Railway Co. train was travelling between Smithers and Terrace when 34 rail cars carrying wood pellets derailed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January.

No one was hurt when 34 cars carrying wood pellets on the Canadian National Railway Co. train left the tracks between the communities of Smithers and Terrace.

The board’s report on the incident says video and audio evidence from the train strongly suggests a sudden track failure occurred.

The report says testing on the same stretch of tracks in July and September 2019 showed the number of “deviations” in the width between the tracks had increased along that section.

The agency says the weight and number of railcars travelling on the route sped up the deterioration of the track before the derailment.

CN Rail says in a statement it is reviewing the board’s report but has already increased and enhanced its automated track inspection program to detect and improve track conditions.

“We remain committed to working with regulators to embed the use of technology to improve inspections, which reduces, and ultimately prevents incidents like this derailment from occurring.”

The company says safety is a core value at CN and in 2020, it has invested over $445 million in B.C. to expand and strengthen its network.

CN says it has replaced more than 25,000 metres of rail and changed over 32,500 rail ties, strengthening its infrastructure.

The safety board noted in its report that the incident was the third such derailment in the area after 27 coal cars derailed in January 2018 and 52 empty cars derailed in December 2017.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Smithersterrace

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

Just Posted

The Canoe Forest Products plywood plant in Salmon Arm is holding its own. (File photo)
Canoe Forest Products in Salmon Arm holding its own during pandemic

General manager says pandemic has not forced layoffs, still 180 people working

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

A line of cars was left waiting for a train at the Marine Park Drive railway crossing as a train halted by a mechanical issue blocked both crossings in the area for close to an hour. (Photo Submitted)
Mechanical issues stall traffic at Salmon Arm rail crossings

Train was stopped on tracks blocking crossings at Narcisse Street and Marine Park Drive

Due to restrictions around COVID-19, access to the Larch Hills chalet will be limited for the 2020/21 cross-country ski season. (File photo)
Early snow means early cross-country skiing at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

COVID-19 requirements restrict use of chalet, postpones of events

The CP Holiday Train stops in Salmon Arm on Dec. 14, 2019. (File photo)
CP Holiday Train at Home to give $7,000 to Salmon Arm food bank

Council members express appreciation for support of the Shuswap from CP Rail

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Summerland residents have been receiving a telephone scam with the number showing as the telephone number of the local RCMP detachment. (Black Press Media files)
Summerland RCMP telephone number spoofed in scam calls

Number used in scam attempts from tax agency

(Village of Lumby photo)
Mysterious, loud ‘boom’ shakes North Okanagan residents

Village staff, Earthquakes Canada aren’t sure what caused the explosion-like sound

Clarence Fulton students collect cash and non-perishable food donations for families in need in their community Friday, Nov. 27. (Jennifer Smith  - Morning Star)
North Okanagan students collect food for families in need

Annual event to support nine school families this year

Take a break from the slopes to discover the rich culture and diversity of Vernon. Michelle Beaudry photo, courtesy Tourism Vernon.
Tourism Vernon could see 40% cut to budget due to COVID-19

New approach to help residents and visitors activate their adventures

Danika Rennie and Myles Lowe sport some realistic fake facial hair for Parkview Elementary’s moustache day on Nov. 27. (Contributed)
Snapshot: Moustache Day at Parkview

Parkview Elementary students showed up with their best false facial hair on Nov. 27

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read