Sudbury

TSB cites poor track conditions as cause of 2015 Spanish, Ont. derailment

The Transportation Safety Board says poor track conditions and inadequate drainage caused a 2015 train derailment in northeastern Ontario, and the railway's track inspection and maintenance program was not effective.

No one was hurt in the crash and no dangerous good spilled

This train derailed near Spanish, Ont., about 100 km southwest of Sudbury. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says poor track conditions and inadequate drainage caused a 2015 train derailment in northeastern Ontario, and the railway's track inspection and maintenance program was not effective.

The agency released its report into the Nov.1 Huron Central Railway crash near Spanish, Ont.— located about 120 kilometres southwest of Sudbury — on Wednesday. No one was hurt in the crash, and no dangerous materials were spilled.

The investigation found that three locomotives and the first eight cars of the train derailed when the foundation underneath the tracks collapsed and a rail joint broke, according to a written release issued in conjunction with the report.

Five other empty cars near the middle of the train subsequently went off the tracks when they smashed into each other as the train rapidly decelerated, the report continued.

At the time, the train was going about 40 km/h (25 mph), the TSB said. The collision occurred on a stretch of line known as the Webbwood Subdivision.

Safety programs not effective, says TSB

The report called into question the track inspection and maintenance programs in effect at Huron Central Railway at the time.

The safety board said measures in effect were not equipped to properly deal with "infrastructure issues such as drainage, track instability, and rail joint defects."

Investigators found that a blocked culvert nearby had improperly drained the area during a period of prolonged rain, allowing water to pool, and compromise the base of the track. In addition, the TSB said a large number of rail joint defects were allowed to remain in service without proper follow-up inspections.

Orders were issued after the crash, the TSB said and were only lifted after subsequent repairs to the track passed inspection.

The Transportation Safety Board conducted its probe through a memorandum of understanding with Ontario as the Huron Central Railway is a provincially-regulated railway.

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