Manitoba train collision in 2019 due to crew fatigue, inexperience: safety board

By The Canadian Press

The Transportation Safety Board says a 2019 train collision and derailment west of Winnipeg was the result of crew fatigue and inexperience.

The agency made two recommendations to Transport Canada to prevent similar accidents in future.

The board says Transport Canada should implement physical fail-safe train controls more quickly on Canada’s high-speed rail corridors, which would act as backup safety defences against human error.

It also recommends Transport Canada require railways to bolster their training for employees.

Two locomotives and eight freight cars went off the tracks in January 2019, east of Portage la Prairie, Man.


The board’s investigation found one of the engineers had missed a signal to stop because of fatigue and the conductor on the same train deferred to the engineer because of inexperience on the job.

“When a crew does not follow signal indication, the administrative defence fails. In the absence of a physical defence, there’s no automatic intervention to slow or stop a train, as was the case in this accident,” said board chair Kathy Fox.

“If Transport Canada and the railway industry do not act more quickly to implement physical fail-safe defences to reduce the consequences of inevitable human errors, the risk of collisions and derailments will persist with a commensurate risk to people property and the environment.”

The agency says a diesel fuel leak was detected at the time, but it was contained.

Eight cars on a westward train derailed and one car was damaged but did not derail.

A train conductor on one of the trains suffered minor injuries.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2022.

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