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A train derailment is shown near Field, B.C., on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. has changed its operating rules for trains that make emergency stops on mountain routes and will now require the use of handbrakes, a safety measure that follows Monday’s runaway-train derailment that killed three crew members.

The crew brought the 112-car grain train to an emergency stop descending a mountain route east of Field, B.C., because it had exceeded the 15-mile-an-hour speed limit by five mph, according to a railway industry source. The halt is required under the company’s operating rules.

Read more: Derailed Canadian Pacific freight train began moving on its own after emergency stop

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Read more: CP derailment victims remembered as by-the-book family men

The train, No. 301, then sat for two hours in frigid temperatures on the main track before suddenly beginning to roll away uncontrolled with a relief crew in the cab. The train quickly exceeded the speed limit on the treacherous route and derailed at a bridge, plunging 60 metres into the Kicking Horse River. The crew told dispatchers they were unable to slow the train as it hurtled down the track, among the steepest in North America.

CP TRAIN DERAILED NEAR FIELD, B.C.

Jasper

National Park

BRITISH COLUMBIA

ALBERTA

Banff

National Park

Field

Banff

Calgary

0

75

KM

0

1.5

Lower

Spiral

Tunnel

KM

Kicking Horse River

Trans-Canada

Highway

Site of

derailment

Upper

Spiral

Tunnel

Railway

Mount

Stephen

Field

Steep grades in the West

Elevation in metres

1,500

Field

1,200

900

Salmon

Arm

600

300

0

Vancouver

Yale

Kamloops

Glacier

Banff

Calgary

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE:

TILEZEN; OSM CONTRIBUTORS; GOOGLE MAPS;

WIRES; TRAINWEB.ORG

CP TRAIN DERAILED NEAR FIELD, B.C.

Jasper

National Park

BRITISH COLUMBIA

ALBERTA

Banff

National Park

Field

Banff

Calgary

0

75

KM

Mount Ogden

0

1.5

KM

Lower

Spiral

Tunnel

Kicking Horse River

Trans-Canada

Highway

Site of

derailment

Railway

Upper

Spiral

Tunnel

Cathedral

Mountain

Mount

Stephen

Field

Steep grades in the West

Elevation in metres

1,500

Field

1,200

900

Salmon

Arm

600

300

0

Vancouver

Yale

Kamloops

Glacier

Banff

Calgary

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN;

OSM CONTRIBUTORS; GOOGLE MAPS; WIRES; TRAINWEB.ORG

CP TRAIN DERAILED NEAR FIELD, B.C.

Jasper

National Park

BRITISH COLUMBIA

ALBERTA

Banff

National Park

Field

Banff

Calgary

Kamloops

0

75

KM

Kelowna

Mount Ogden

Wapta

Mountain

Kicking Horse Pass

Kicking Horse River

Lower Spiral Tunnel

Wapta Lake

Mount Field

Site of derailment

Trans-Canada

Highway

Walcott Peak

Upper Spiral Tunnel

Railway

Cathedral

Mountain

Mount

Stephen

0

1.5

Field

KM

Steep grades in the West

Elevation in metres

1,500

1,200

900

600

300

0

Vancouver

Yale

Kamloops

Salmon

Arm

Glacier

Field

Banff

Calgary

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OSM CONTRIBUTORS;

GOOGLE MAPS; WIRES; TRAINWEB.ORG

CP TRAIN DERAILED NEAR FIELD, B.C.

0

75

Jasper

National

Park

B.C.

ALTA.

KM

DETAIL

Vancouver

ALBERTA

93

U.S.

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

Banff

National

Park

Banff

Field

Calgary

Revelstoke

1

Steep grades in the West

Kamloops

Elevation in metres

Field

1,500

1,200

900

600

300

0

Kelowna

Vancouver

Yale

Kamloops

Salmon

Arm

Glacier

Banff

Calgary

Lower spiral:

880 m long at 1.7% grade

Kicking Horse Pass

Wapta Lake

Mount Ogden

Cathedral Mountain

Site of derailment

Upper spiral:

977 m long at 1.6% grade

Train tracks

N

Field

Mount Field

Yoho National Park

Trans-Canada Highway

0

3

Mount Dennis

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS;

GOOGLE MAPS; WIRES; TRAINWEB.ORG

CP TRAIN DERAILED NEAR FIELD, B.C.

0

75

Jasper

National

Park

B.C.

ALTA.

KM

DETAIL

ALBERTA

Vancouver

93

U.S.

BRITISH

COLUMBIA

Banff

National

Park

Banff

Field

Calgary

Revelstoke

1

Steep grades in the West

Elevation in metres

Kamloops

Field

1,500

1,200

900

600

300

0

Kelowna

Vancouver

Yale

Kamloops

Salmon

Arm

Glacier

Banff

Calgary

Lower spiral:

880 m long at 1.7% grade

Kicking Horse Pass

Wapta Lake

Mount Ogden

Cathedral Mountain

Site of derailment

Upper spiral:

977 m long at 1.6% grade

Train tracks

N

Field

Yoho National Park

Mount Field

Trans-Canada Highway

0

3

Mount Dennis

KM

MURAT YÜKSELIR AND JOHN SOPINSKI / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; GOOGLE MAPS; WIRES; TRAINWEB.ORG

The wreck killed conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. All three had been at the CP bunkhouse at Field when they were called to relieve crew members, who had worked their maximum permitted hours.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB), which is investigating the cause of the derailment, said on Tuesday that no handbrakes were applied to the grain cars while it was stopped. The crew had made adjustments to the air brakes on three quarters of the cars, setting the retaining valves to apply them partly, a step taken in emergency stops that is part of CP’s operating rules.

The new handbrake requirement CP issued in a systemwide bulletin dated Feb. 6, and obtained by The Globe and Mail, updates the procedures train crews must perform after making an emergency stop on a mountain. After the first emergency stop, crew members are required to apply handbrakes on 25 cars and set the air-brake retaining valves on all cars while the air-brake system is recharged.

Crew members must contact a trainmaster and undergo a “job briefing” in which they must show an understanding of the brake retainer, and provide information on weather and other conditions that affect braking performance. Handbrakes and retaining clips must be set on all cars in the case of a second emergency-brake application.

Another industry source described the changes as significant. Both sources were granted anonymity by The Globe because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

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Under the previous rules, the use of brake retainer clips was required, but not handbrakes. According to CP’s operating rules dated 2006, and also obtained by The Globe, “weather and poor braking conditions” dictated if handbrakes were to be set on every car.

CP’s doomed Train 301 began its journey in Red Deer, Alta., and was headed to Vancouver with 112 carloads of grain and three locomotives – at the head, the middle and rear. Many of the grain cars were at least 30 years old. The train’s configuration is known as distributed power, which improves traction and improves the effectiveness of a train’s air brakes, which are pressurized from a locomotive’s generator.

The train had no mechanical problems and had recently passed a brake test at CP’s Calgary yard, the first industry source said.

The crew members were based in Calgary, and were waiting at the station in Field for their next shift, which would take them home. Instead, they were called to relieve the crew on Train 301 a short distance up the mountain. “If everything would have worked out, they would have gone up, grabbed that train, taken it into Field and handed it off to [another crew headed west to Vancouver] and then gone back into the bunkhouse,” the source said. “It was the luck of the draw.”

CP, based in Calgary, declined to comment Thursday, beyond referring questions to the TSB and saying it is co-operating with the investigation. The TSB declined to comment.

A train is equipped with overlapping brake systems – the dynamic, back-pressure brakes of the locomotive’s power; the locomotive’s independent brakes; and the air-brake system that encompasses every car, fed compressed air by the locomotive.

Handbrakes, used when cars are stopped, require a crew member to manually turn a hand wheel on each car to apply and set the pads against the wheels. This is a physically demanding task, especially when done on dozens of cars in cold weather. Trains used to employ brakemen for the task, now added to the responsibilities of a conductor.

Not enough handbrakes were set on the oil train that rolled into Lac-Mégantic, Que., killing 47 people in 2013, investigators found. The train’s air brakes had lost pressure after sitting for several hours before it rolled downhill and exploded, destroying much of the town.

Simplified illustration of

the handbrake system

Air brake system

Handbrake system

Brake pipe

Handbrake

Feed groove

Auxillary

reservoir

Slide valve

Triple

valve

Brake

cylinder

Brake

block

Spring

Piston

Exhaust

Wheel

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: tsbc;

RAILWAY-TECHNICAL.COM

Simplified illustration of the handbrake system

Air brake system

Handbrake system

Brake pipe

Handbrake

Feed groove

Auxillary

reservoir

Slide valve

Triple

valve

Brake

cylinder

Brake

block

Spring

Piston

Exhaust

Wheel

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: tsbc;

RAILWAY-TECHNICAL.COM

Simplified illustration of the handbrake system

Air brake system

Handbrake system

Brake pipe

Handbrake

Feed groove

Auxillary

reservoir

Slide valve

Triple

valve

Brake

cylinder

Exhaust

Brake

block

Spring

Piston

Wheel

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: tsbc; RAILWAY-TECHNICAL.COM

The TSB investigation into the wreck of Train 301 will include the role air brakes played in the uncontrolled plunge down the tracks.

A train’s air brakes become less effective in sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions. The gaskets, seals and hoses shrink, become brittle and leak air, a problem that can be compounded by the equipment’s age.

Almost half of Canada’s 23,000 grain cars are owned by the federal or provincial government and operated under agreements with the railways. The rest are owned by the rail companies and G3 Canada Ltd., the former Canadian Wheat Board.

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