VIA Rail train derailment raises safety issues

It sent railcars jackknifing across three sets of tracks. A Sunday afternoon derailment in southern Ontario that killed three Via Rail employees is under investigation this morning. Three-and-half years ago, then-Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon told the House of Commons rail safety has gone down the tubes. Today, the former president of the Canada Safety Council looks at what we've known about our rails and what regulators need to confront.

Part One of The Current


It's Monday, February 27th.

After years of complaints about the highly-addictive nature of their product, the makers of OxyContin will discontinue production of the drug this week.

In fairness, it only took a couple of months to recall the Flintstone-chewable version.

This is The Current.

VIA Rail train derailment raises safety issues - Passenger

There are more questions than answers this morning after a deadly passenger train derailment yesterday in Southern Ontario. Three VIA Rail employees, two engineers and a trainee were killed in the accident.

About 45 of the train's 75 passengers were injured when the train went off the rails around 3:30 p.m. in Burlington, Ontario, crashing into a building in the industrial area. Some people were trapped in the rail cars before being taken to nearby hospitals by air ambulance. Others were treated on site. Still others managed to walked away, seemingly unscathed but obviously shaken. Hannah Lemke was in that train. She was in Everett, Ontario.

VIA Rail train derailment raises safety issues - VIA Rail

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Bureau have begun their investigation. For more information on how VIA Rail is handling this derailment, we reached Malcolm Andrews. He is the Senior Manager of Media and Community Relations with VIA Rail and he joined us from Montreal.

Via Rail train derailment raises safety issues - Safety

As we mentioned, there is still no indication of what might have caused yesterday's derailment. But our next guest will be watching closely to see what comes out of the investigation. He has been concerned about rail safety for years. Emile Therien is the Former President of the Canada Safety Council. He was in Ottawa.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Shannon Higgins.

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