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TSB says track failures may have played a role in 3 train derailments

A CN Rail train derailment near Gogama, Ont., is shown in this Sunday, March 8, 2015 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Glenn Thibeault

Canada’s transportation investigator says track infrastructure failures may have played a role in three recent derailments involving oil-laden trains in northern Ontario.

The Transportation Safety Board says it wants Transport Canada to review the risk assessments for a stretch of track known as the CN Ruel subdivision following the fiery derailments in Gogama and Minnipuka.

It says trains have already been ordered to travel slowly on the Class 4 welded rail track due to “various infrastructure and track maintenance issues,” but that heavily loaded tank cars often exert “higher than usual forces” on the track.

CN Rail says a train carrying crude oil derailed early Saturday, March 7, 2015 near Gogama, Ont., about 200 kilometres north of Sudbury
CN Rail says a train carrying crude oil derailed early Saturday, March 7, 2015 near Gogama, Ont., about 200 kilometres north of Sudbury. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-OPP

The board says that exposes weaknesses in the track and makes it more susceptible to failure.

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The agency says its preliminary observations on the March 7 Gogama derailment also found the tank cars performed similarly to those involved in the deadly derailment in Lac-Megantic, Que., despite meeting upgraded safety standards for Class 111 tank cars.

Similar observations were made about a Feb. 14 derailment near the same community, which is about 80 kilometres south of Timmins.

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