Skip to main content

Report on Business CP freight train derails near Banff, marking third crash in area this year

A Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. freight train derailed near Banff, Alta., on Thursday, the third crash on the tracks west of Calgary since Jan. 3.

Ten loaded grain cars and 10 empty automobile carriers on the 102-car train derailed just before 5 p.m. MT on Thursday while the westbound train was travelling at 64 kilometres an hour, said Chris Krepski, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board (TSB), the independent safety investigator.

There were no injuries and no dangerous goods were involved, he said. The cause of the crash and the gradient of the track was not available, he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Jeremy Berry, a CP spokesman, said the cause of the derailment is under investigation.

The 220-km stretch of tracks through the Rocky Mountains between Calgary and Field, B.C., is some of the steepest and most treacherous rail in North America.

On Feb. 4, three CP railway workers died when their train ran out of control and crashed down the mountainside. The cause of the tragedy, which killed engineer Andrew Dockrell, conductor Dylan Paradis and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, is the subject of a TSB investigation. The men had just boarded the train, which the previous crew had stopped in an emergency as it sped beyond their control. The train began moving down the slope and quickly exceeded the speed limit and crashed at a bridge, falling into the Kicking Horse River.

Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, responded to the fatal derailment by ordering railways to apply rail-car hand brakes when trains are halted in an emergency stop. There were no hand brakes set on the Feb. 4 train, and no CP or Transport Canada rules required such measures.

Applying a train’s emergency brakes is a last measure to halt a train speeding out of control. A train that has made an emergency stop must then halt while the air-brake system is recharged. It is not known why the emergency brakes failed, but cold weather, snow and leaky, aged equipment are known to hamper the operation of air brakes. Hand brakes, if set properly, are known to be a safe backstop to air brakes on halted trains.

On Jan. 3, a CP train derailed in the spiral tunnel west of Banff. The TSB is investigating why 15 empty rail cars jumped the tracks.

Additionally, the engineer of a CP train on Monday had to use the emergency brakes to control a train as it descended the steep tracks heading into the town of Field.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter