Railway Investigation R16T0162

Main-track derailment

The occurrence

On 21 August 2016, an eastbound Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) mixed-merchandise train (train 118) was proceeding through the crossover at Mile 3.3 of the CP North Toronto Subdivision in Toronto, Ontario. About the same time, a westbound CP train (train 235) was operating with 2 light engines on the north track when it came upon a signal displaying a stop indication. The crew observed the tail end of train 118 on the track ahead, and made an emergency brake application, but their train still side-collided with the tail end of train 118 as it exited the crossover.

As a result of the collision, the 4 last cars (8 platforms in total) of train 118 and the 2 locomotives of train 235 derailed upright. The conductor of train 235 sustained minor injuries. The fuel tank of the lead locomotive was punctured during the accident, which resulted in a loss of an estimated 1100 litres of diesel fuel. The precise amount of fuel released will be determined in the investigation.

No accident is ever caused by just one factor or person. To identify the deficiencies that contributed to this accident, the investigation will evaluate

  • crew training
  • potential crew fatigue
  • following signal indications
  • potential crew distractions
  • absence of fail-safe physical defenses to prevent train collisions
  • crashworthiness of locomotive fuel tanks.

Map of the area


Photo of Don Mustard

Don Mustard is a Senior Investigator with Rail and Pipeline Investigations at the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). For the last 13 years he has been an Investigator-In-Charge (IIC), Standards and Performance Specialist, and team member on numerous completed rail and pipeline accident investigations, including Lac Mégantic. Previously, he spent 13 years providing geological and communication services to resource companies and Canada’s nuclear regulator.

Mr. Mustard holds a B.Sc. in Geology from the University of British Columbia, and a B.A.A. in Radio & Television Arts from Ryerson Polytechnic Univesity. In 2014, he received an Excellence in Investigation Award for his contributions in the investigation of the VIA Rail train derailment at Burlington and a Public Service Award of Excellence for his contributions to the Lac Mégantic investigation. His research work has been presented and published at international industry events such as the International Heavy Haul Association and the International Level Crossing Safety and Trespasser Prevention Symposium.


Link to the TSB Flickr page

See more high resolution pictures on the TSB Flickr page.

Transportation Safety Board investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation:

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.


Deployment notices


Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys investigator following collision between 2 trains in Toronto, Ontario
Read the deployment notice