Rail news release 2012

Loose and broken rail screws lead to January 2012 train derailment near Fabyan, Alberta

Gatineau, Quebec, 25 October 2012 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (R11E0008) into the 21 January 2012 derailment of a Canadian National freight train near Fabyan, Alberta.

The train was proceeding westward on the Wainwright Subdivision towards Edmonton, Alberta. As the train crossed Fabyan Bridge, the outside rail in the curve at the east end of the bridge rolled over, causing 31 cars to derail. There were no dangerous goods involved and there were no injuries.

The investigation found that a number of lag screws holding the track in place in the curve had progressively failed. As such, there were not enough remaining screws to adequately secure the track as the train went around the curve. Numerous track inspections took place in the days before the accident, but did not detect that the curve was under stress, and action was not taken to adequately secure the curve.

Following the accident, Canadian National improved its protocols for inspecting curves, turnouts and bridge decks with screw spikes. The company is also requiring stronger rail fastener systems in some curves.


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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053
Email: media@tsb.gc.ca