CN track infrastructure faults under TSB's microscope
Number of inspectors has dropped from 20,000 to 3,000 over the last two decades, union official says
Two unions say the Transportation Safety Board is highlighting faults in track infrastructure in three recent train derailments.
They both say faster, heavier trains are pushing the limits of the rails.
The Transportation Safety Board is analyzing a failed joint taken from the bridge where a CN train derailed on March 7, near Gogama, Ont.
"The TSB will hopefully determine whether there's a systemic failure here in either maintenance standards, or maybe there's a requirement to provide more regulations on track inspection and maintenance," Brian Stevens said.
He added there are fewer people checking the rails, and said the number of inspectors has dropped from 20,000 to 3,000 over the last two decades. Rail companies are relying on technology instead, he said.
"Whether they're using more way-side detectors, impact detectors, hotbox detectors, track geometry, [they’re] relying on these reports to demonstrate to Transport Canada [that] we don't need boots on the ground."
Doug Finnson said companies want trains to be longer and go faster.
"They speak of a maximum amount of trains moving across and so, if they increase the speed, increase the length and increase the weight, they make more money, obviously.”
CN said in a statement it has enhanced inspection procedures on the northern Ontario rail corridor.