Thursday, August 09, 2007


Congratulations, Canada! The federal Transportation Safety Board announces a full-fledged investigation into CN's Aug. 5 train wreck in Prince George


From Thursday's Globe and Mail
August 9, 2007 at 3:55 AM EDT

VANCOUVER — Canada's transportation watchdog agency yesterday announced a full-fledged investigation into last weekend's derailment of a Canadian National Railway train in Prince George, an incident that has fuelled new questions about the company's safety record in British Columbia.

The Transportation Safety Board conducts only a few such investigations each year of transportation-related mishaps across Canada. In fiscal year 2005-2006, the last year for which statistics are available, investigations were launched for 79 of about 4,000 occurrences reported to the board.

But a board spokesman said yesterday that a pair of investigators on the scene in Prince George have found material that's prompted the move to gather and analyze data for an all-out investigation. A report will then be released on the accident, which CN has blamed on errors by an unidentified employee.

"They have determined there are possibly some lessons to be learned from an investigation," board spokesman John Cottreau said yesterday.

"An investigation would help us to further our mandate, which is to increase transportation safety."

Mr. Cottreau declined to be more specific about what investigators have seen in Prince George. He said the officials were busy on the scene and would not be available for comment before today at the earliest.

As a rule, the independent agency launches probes only for a handful of incidents deemed significant. The Prince George case has been designated a "Class 3 occurrence." There are five class levels.

According to board guidelines, "Class 3" means: There is a public expectation the board should independently make findings on the cause and contributing factors to the incident; there is a potential for better understanding the latent unsafe conditions contributing to a significant safety issue; a government representative requests it; or the board must do so to meet its obligations or commitments.

Mr. Cottreau said there is no specific timeline on the release of the report.

Last Saturday, two trains - one carrying lumber and the other gasoline - collided on the banks of the Fraser River, causing a spectacular fire, but no serious environmental damage to the river.

The incident came a day after CN was hit with a mix of five federal and provincial charges over a 2005 spill of 41,000 litres of caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide, into the Cheakamus River near Squamish. The accident killed 500,000 fish - salmon, and trout among others.

Both incidents have raised concerns about CN's safety record. This week, B.C.'s NDP opposition called for a public inquiry. {Snip} ...


This "all-out investigation" by a safety board far removed from British Columbia (if you catch my drift) is good news. For example, what about that initial report from CTV on 5 August telling us that there were "FIVE CARS OF METHANOL ON FIRE ..." later reinforced by YouTube videos showing the burning as well as providing the dramatic hissing sound "like a barbeque" mentioned earlier in connection with the methanol. What about the cover-up of the fact that the trains were definitely NOT in the CN railyards, as the CN spokesperson kept saying. And the cover-up of the shocking fact that a driverless train carrying hazardous material was sent out onto the mainline -- apparently without warning to the oncoming locomotive driver? And if, as Kevin Falcon asserts, this CN accident has nothing to do with his Ministry of Transportation or the Campbell Government, why were their representatives in Prince George looking around on August 5, 2007??

From the TSB mandate, British Columbians (who might otherwise forget), are assured that certain things in life require investigation, such as where there is a potential for better understanding the latent unsafe conditions contributing to a significant safety issue; a government representative requests it (ha ha ha, good one!); or the board must do so to meet its obligations or commitments.

- BC Mary


Does anyone else get the feeling that Falcon knew beforehand that the Feds were going to investigate, and that's how he was able to distance Gordo's Government?
In the real world Falcon should have started his own investigation. Using an independent investigator of course.
gary e,


Just the person I was hoping to hear from!

gary e, somebody just whispered in my ear that CN had "designated" the rail-line between the Prince George Industrial Site (where the old B.C. Rail passenger station is) ... and the CN railyard on First Avenue in city limits ... as ... are you ready for this? ... CN trackage ... and therefore "part of the CN rail yard". Yeah.

Now, I ask you, Detective gary e, how in heck did CN accomplish this piece of magic? Didn't Gordo assure us that the people of B.C. still own the trackage and railbed of all the former B.C. Rail lines??

Over to you, gary e ...

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