Calgary

'Extremely lucky' no one died, Calgary Transit says of Tuscany C-Train derailment

The driver of a C-Train that derailed at the Tuscany LRT station in northwest Calgary Tuesday is still recovering in hospital with stable, non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Crash happened at the end of the line, cause unknown, investigation underway

Russell Davies says a thorough investigation is underway 2:32

The driver of a C-Train that derailed at the Tuscany LRT station in northwest Calgary Tuesday is still recovering in hospital with stable, non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The acting director of Calgary Transit said it could have ended very differently.

"We've been extremely lucky there's no fatalities here," Russell Davies said.

The derailed C-Train left the tracks just beyond the platform at the Tuscany LRT station in northwest Calgary. The driver was seriously injured in the crash. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

He said they will be reviewing video surveillance to determine exactly what happened.

The three-car C-Train was going 60 kilometres an hour when it left the tracks and struck a power line pole. Weights from the pole crashed through the windshield, landing in the cab.

"The weights could have been clearly very, very dangerous. They did just miss the operator, there's no doubt," Davies said.

The train crashed through a fence at the end of the line. The Tuscany LRT station can be seen just behind it in this photo. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said the driver, a woman in her early 60s, was seriously hurt and it was difficult to get her out of the damaged train car.

There were three passengers on board at the time of the crash, Brideaux said. All were assessed by paramedics, found to be uninjured and released.

Cause of accident unknown

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined.

"There's no reason to believe it was a medical issue right now," said Davies.

"We have to look at a lot of things: the condition of the vehicles, the track, signals, as well as the operator."

Officials expect to have findings "soon" said Davies. A number of surveillance cameras on the train and in the station captured the crash.

"Then trains do have a black box system, an event recorder to tell us what kind of actions the driver was doing as well as what the train was actually doing."

Calgary Transit said service delays are expected as they deal with the aftermath of the derailment. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

Davies described the driver a "senior operator."

"It wasn't somebody fairly new to the job," he said. "She was fairly experienced."

First car a 'write-off'

The first train car was "six to seven years old" said Davies.

"Right now the first car looks like it's a write-off," he said.

"There's been significant damage on the underside, significant damage to all the major systems and wiring, to such a state we're in the process of cutting that train in half so we're actually able to remove it from [the] site."

Traffic along Crowchild Trail was moving in both directions after the incident but with some delays.

 A special crane was being brought in from Leduc to remove the train cars.

With files from Bryan Labby and Dave Dormer