Rail transportation safety investigation R20W0031

Updated in March 2020: This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Main track derailment

Canadian National Railway
Mile 108.22, Fort Frances Subdivision
Near Emo, Ontario

The occurrence

Please note that the following information is preliminary and subject to change as the TSB continues its investigation.

On , a Canadian National Railway (CN) train was proceeding eastward at about 44 mph on the CN Fort Frances Subdivision. At 2036 Central Standard Time, the train experienced a train-initiated emergency brake application at mile 108.22 near Emo, Ontario. Subsequent examination identified that 31 cars had derailed, including 26 crude oil cars. Five of the derailed crude oil cars have released petroleum crude oil. Six homes in the area were evacuated as a precautionary measure. There were no injuries and no fire. The TSB is investigating.


Safety communications

2020-04-03

Rail Safety Advisory 617-02-20: Modifying key train speed based on various train risk profiles

Media materials

Deployment notice

2020-02-19

TSB deploys an investigator to a train derailment near Fort Frances, Ontario

Winnipeg, Manitoba, 19 February 2020 - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying an investigator to the site of a derailment at Emo, near Fort Frances, Ontario, of a Canadian National Railway freight train carrying crude oil. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Jerry Berriault

Mr. Berriault has been with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) since 2007. He is a senior regional investigator, Central Region, based out of the Winnipeg, Manitoba, office.

Among other responsibilities, he has been the Investigator-in-charge of eight rail accident investigations and served as a team member in a number of other investigations throughout Canada, providing operational and technical expertise.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Berriault held numerous positions with Canadian National Railway (CN) from 1980 until 2007, including superintendent of operations. While at CN, he gained extensive knowledge of all aspects of train operations, including both the mechanical and engineering functions.


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

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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