WINNIPEG – The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has released its findings into a Via Rail derailment near Togo, Sask. in April 2013.
TSB officials said inadequate water drainage led to the collapse of an embankment, causing the derailment.
A track inspection had been carried out four hours before the train passed over the embankment but no defects were located.
It was later determined a culvert had been blocked by an ice plug and that, combined with rapidly melting snow, led to water saturation and destabilization of the embankment.
When the westbound train passed over the raised portion of the CN track, crews observed a section of the track with roadbed ballast was missing.
Crews applied the emergency brakes but the train did not stop in time. The embankment further collapsed and two locomotives, a baggage car and the first passenger car derailed upright.
No one was injured.
The derailment caused the fuel tanks on the locomotives to come into contact with the rails, causing them to rupture.
The ensuing fire damaged both locomotives, which had recently been rebuilt but not equipped with newer puncture resistant fuel tanks.
The TSB investigation also found the track inspectors responsible for the location had not received adequate training to identify potential ground hazards.
Since the derailment, CN has produced a video on spring readiness inspections.