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November 17, 2013

Canada safety watchdog says no strategy in place to avoid Burlington-type train accidents

Transport Canada has not developed a clear strategy to avoid incidents such as the 2012 VIA Rail Burlington accident, according to The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

By admin-demo

Transport Canada has not developed a clear strategy to avoid incidents such as the 2012 VIA Rail Burlington accident, according to The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The independent safety agency has released an assessment of the implementation of the three recommendations that it has made following an investigation into the February 2012 train derailment in Ontario.

The VIA train derailed in Burlington, between Niagara Falls and Toronto, killing three locomotive engineers and injuring over 45 passengers.

"Canadians deserve a clear strategy and timely action plan."

In the report released in June, TSB blamed the crew for misinterpreting the signal and over-speeding at 67mph against the authorised speed of 15mph.

TSB has recently reviewed the implementation of its three recommendations made to Transport Canada in June.

The first recommendation suggested the trains to be installed with physical fail-safe train controls, starting with Canada’s high-speed rail corridors.

TSB said that Transport Canada is taking some action to study the issue, but the study needs to result in a clear and definitive action plan to ensure trains will automatically slow down and stop when they are supposed to.

Though Transport Canada has accepted the second recommendation on in-cab video cameras in locomotives, its importance has been diluted by making camera installation voluntary.

In its assessment report, TSB said: "A voluntary approach does not go far enough and will not ensure that the vast majority of locomotives in Canada will be equipped with essential recorders."

The agency’s third recommendation to extend crash-worthiness standards of new locomotives to rebuilt passenger and freight locomotives is being implemented; Transport Canada plans to begin the process by March 2014.

TSB chair Wendy Tadros said: "We think the TSB has made a compelling case for these recommendations. They are definitely aimed at improving safety.

"While it is positive that Transport Canada accepts the recommendations, Canadians deserve a clear strategy and timely action plan to implement these recommendations."

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