British Columbia

TSB issues safety letters over rail crash that killed 3 workers in B.C.

The Transportation Safety Board has issued rail-safety advisories involving a crash in April of last year that killed three workers and injured two others in the Vancouver Island community of Woss.

Runaway crash last year also injured 2

A photo taken by the RCMP and released in October's WorkSafeBC report shows seven of the derailed cars. (RCMP/WorkSafe B.C.)

The Transportation Safety Board has issued rail-safety advisories involving a crash in April 2017 that killed three workers and injured two others in a close-knit Vancouver Island community.

A WorkSafeBC report issued in October said decaying railway ties and the failure of a safety mechanism allowed rail cars at a Western Forest Products reload centre to run uncontrolled and hit two work equipment vehicles with the five men aboard.

The board's report issued Wednesday adds to the conclusion, saying the 11 cars loaded with logs rolled away after a locking device between the cars inadvertently released.

The report also says a safety device meant to derail the runaway cars failed to work because the rail ties were deteriorating and the device hadn't been adequately secured.

The board issued two rail safety advisory letters after its investigation, including one to railways, regulators and associations over the use of visual verification to ensure locking devices between cars are secure.

This photo, included in the WorkSafeBC report, shows the state of decay in the ties to which the derailer had been fastened. Both ties were noted to be rotten to the extent that the train easily overpowered the derailer. (WorkSafe B.C.)

It says another advisory letter went to B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation saying it may want to review how the derail devices are installed, maintained and inspected on properties operated by Western Forest Products.

The railway operated by the company is provincially regulated, but the safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry.

The company announced in November 2017 that the Englewood Train — believed to be the last operating logging railroad in North America — would shut down.

Englewood Railway accident scene

CBC News Vancouver at 6

4 years ago
Aerial video of the accident scene taken from above Woss, B.C. as rescue workers help to free workers trapped underneath logs 0:33

A statement from Western Forests Products said the crash will forever affect the families of those lost and injured, those who worked alongside them and the company as a whole.

"The safety and security of our employees is our No. 1 priority. We continue to work to ensure that families, workers and all affected by this tragic incident are supported in any way we can,'' said the statement.