Railway Investigation Report R94Q0048

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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Crossing Accident
Canadian Pacific Limited
Train No. Q-406-23
Mile 61.47, Trois-Rivières Subdivision
Louiseville, Quebec
23 September 1994

Summary

A Canadian Pacific Limited (CP) freight train, proceeding eastward on the CP Trois-Rivières Subdivision, struck a motor home at Louiseville, Quebec, at a public crossing at Mile 61.47. The driver of the vehicle was seriously injured and his two passengers were fatally injured.

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Other Factual Information

At 1520 eastern daylight time (EDT), eastward CP freight train No. Q-406-23, consisting of four locomotives, 11 loaded cars and 53 empty cars, approached the crossing travelling at a speed of approximately 47 mph in a 50-mph speed zone.

Approximately 100 feet west of the crossing, the crew observed a southbound motor home approaching the crossing. As soon as the locomotive engineer realized that the driver was not stopping, he initiated an emergency brake application. The train struck the motor home which became wedged under the front of the locomotive. The train was brought to a stop approximately 1,530 feet east of the crossing. The lead locomotive sustained slight damage, there was no track damage, and the motor home was destroyed.

The driver of the motor home had been en route to Mirabel Airport. He had been detoured in Louiseville and was headed away from the airport at the time of the accident.

The lead locomotive's headlight and ditch lights were illuminated and the bell and whistle were sounded as the train approached the crossing. The automatic warning devices at the crossing were operating as designed. In addition, there were crossing advance warning signs both north and south of the crossing.

The sight-lines in the quadrant involved in the accident were good. The weather was clear with good visibility and a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

Analysis

Considering the clear weather conditions, the good sight-lines, the operation of the automatic warning devices at the crossing and the operation of the locomotive's engine bell, whistle, headlight and ditch lights, the motorist had sufficient information to have stopped the motor home before fouling the crossing. However, in his attempt to reach the airport, the motorist may have become distracted by the detour in Louiseville and may not have seen or heard the indications of the approaching train.

Findings

  1. The train was operated in accordance with company procedures and government safety standards.
  2. The crossing automatic warning devices were activated as intended.
  3. The driver of the motor home did not obey the automatic warning devices or react to the approaching train and entered the crossing directly in front of the train.

Cause

The driver of the motor home did not respond to the visual and audible warnings from the approaching train or the automatic warning devices, and did not stop before the public crossing.

This report concludes the Transportation Safety Board's investigation into this occurrence. Consequently, the Board, consisting of Chairperson, John W. Stants, and members Zita Brunet and Hugh MacNeil, authorized the release of this report on 19 May 1995.