Rail transportation safety investigation R20V0005

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 4 November 2020.

Table of contents

Main-track train derailment

Canadian National Railway Company
Freight train U79351-06
Mile 69.97, Bulkley Subdivision
near Kitwanga, British Columbia

View final report

The occurrence

On 7 January 2020, a Canadian National train derailed at Mile 70 of the Bulkley Subdivision while travelling westward at 35 mph. Initial examination revealed 33 cars loaded with wood products derailed in an accordion fashion. No injuries reported and no dangerous goods were involved.


Media materials

News releases

2020-11-04

Investigation report: January 2020 main track train derailment in Kitwanga, British Columbia
Read the news release

Deployment notice

2020-01-07

TSB deploys a team of investigators to a train derailment near Kitwanga, British Columbia

Richmond, British Columbia, 7 January 2020 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to a train derailment involving a Canadian National Railway freight train near Kitwanga, British Columbia. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Investigator-in-charge

Photo of George Fowler

Track and Infrastructure Engineer, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

George Fowler is the Track and Infrastructure Engineer for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). Located in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Mr. Fowler provides railroad engineering accident investigation expertise for the TSB across Canada, through evaluation and analysis of track, structures, and signal infrastructure performance.

Mr. Fowler joined the TSB in 2002 after a 30-year career with Canadian National Railway, where he held various engineering positions in planning, inspection, production, construction, and maintenance. With the TSB, he has been investigator-in-charge of a number of major accidents involving track infrastructure failure, wheel/rail interaction, track/train dynamics, and human performance. He is responsible for defining and validating both engineering and operational safety issues and deficiencies.

Mr. Fowler is a professional engineer with a BSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Alberta, and is a member of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA).


Class of investigation

This is a class 4 investigation. These investigations are limited in scope, and while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB 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 air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.

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