Missed defect in improperly repaired rail caused Gogama, Ont. derailment

GOGAMA, Ont. – The Transportation Safety Board says an improperly repaired rail led to a 2015 freight train derailment in northern Ontario that caused numerous cars to catch fire and crash into a river system.

As a result of its investigation into the incident, the TSB is recommending Transport Canada consistently collect data on rail surface conditions to better predict future rail failures.

Thirty-nine CN Rail cars went off the tracks near Gogama, Ont., in the March 2015 incident.

READ MORE: Ottawa defends rail safety efforts after fiery derailment in Ontario

There were no injuries reported, but residents of the nearby Mattagami First Nation were advised to stay indoors during the cleanup due to possible smoke inhalation and told not to consume water from the community source.

The TSB says the derailment occurred after a recently repaired rail within a joint broke under the train.

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It says a track maintenance employee repaired the broken rail three days before the derailment, but missed an internal defect called a vertical split head, which was present, but not visible to the naked eye.

READ MORE: Safety concerns rise in wake of a CN train derailment in northern Ontario

The TSB says the crack could have been detected with a dye penetrant test, which was not performed even though it’s required as per CN standards.

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