Track failure led to train derailment in northern B.C.: safety board

No one was hurt when 34 cars carrying wood pellets left the tracks

A train derailment near Kitwanga, B.C., between Smithers and Terrace, is shown in this January 2020 handout photo. The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January. The Canadian National Railway Co. train was travelling between Smithers and Terrace when 34 rail cars carrying wood pellets derailed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Transportation Safety Board of Canada

A train derailment near Kitwanga, B.C., between Smithers and Terrace, is shown in this January 2020 handout photo. The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January. The Canadian National Railway Co. train was travelling between Smithers and Terrace when 34 rail cars carrying wood pellets derailed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Transportation Safety Board says a track failure contributed to the derailment of a freight train in northern British Columbia in January.

No one was hurt when 34 cars carrying wood pellets on the Canadian National Railway Co. train left the tracks between the communities of Smithers and Terrace.

The board’s report on the incident says video and audio evidence from the train strongly suggests a sudden track failure occurred.

The report says testing on the same stretch of tracks in July and September 2019 showed the number of “deviations” in the width between the tracks had increased along that section.

The agency says the weight and number of railcars travelling on the route sped up the deterioration of the track before the derailment.

CN Rail says in a statement it is reviewing the board’s report but has already increased and enhanced its automated track inspection program to detect and improve track conditions.

“We remain committed to working with regulators to embed the use of technology to improve inspections, which reduces, and ultimately prevents incidents like this derailment from occurring.”

The company says safety is a core value at CN and in 2020, it has invested over $445 million in B.C. to expand and strengthen its network.

CN says it has replaced more than 25,000 metres of rail and changed over 32,500 rail ties, strengthening its infrastructure.

The safety board noted in its report that the incident was the third such derailment in the area after 27 coal cars derailed in January 2018 and 52 empty cars derailed in December 2017.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Smithersterrace

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared on Nov. 19. (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
52 positive COVID-19 cases now associated with LNG Canada site outbreak

Eight cases still active, 44 considered recovered

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former Smithereen frustrated with COVID-deniers following horrific bout with the disease

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

Pellet plants deal with a lot of combustible materials. (File photo)
“Fire-related event” at Houston pellet plant injures three, shuts down operations

Rumours of an associated explosion cannot be confirmed at this time

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read