News release

Diminished alertness led to January 2012 train-maintenance vehicle collision near Messiter, British Columbia

Gatineau, Quebec, 23 January 2012 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its investigation report (R12V0008) into the 14 January 2012 collision between a Canadian National train and a maintenance vehicle near Messiter, British Columbia.

The freight train was travelling from Kamloops, British Columbia, to Edmonton, Alberta, when it struck a maintenance vehicle on the Clearwater Subdivision, near Messiter. There were no injuries and there was no derailment. The maintenance vehicle was destroyed, but the lead locomotive of the train was undamaged.

The investigation determined that the maintenance foreman, who was working alone, had taken the south track instead of the north track to reach a malfunctioning signal. Diminished alertness as well as a focus on the south track likely contributed to this course of action. The fact that he was alone prevented the action from being detected.

In January 2012, Canadian National issued a safety flash addressing the events of this accident to its engineering employees, with a reminder of the requirements for Track Occupancy Permits. Later in March 2012, it conducted 18 rail traffic efficiency tests involving follow-up track occupancy permits to ensure that proper procedures were followed.

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