As part of reporting on the poor state of rail safety in Canada, Railroaded has prepared CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents, as well as posted many articles on our website. Our hope is that publishing such information will ultimately encourage the rail industry and our federal government to improve rail safety in Canada.
We recently became aware of an excellent paper prepared by James Haggerstone titled Railway Occurrences (Incidents and Accidents) in Northern BC, 2003-2013, which provides a comprehensive list of hundreds of CN occurrences in Northern B.C. including: derailments, collisions, fires, dangerous goods leaks, employee injuries, runaway trains, and damage to rail cars.
The document, which also appears on the B.C. Northern Health website, states, “This preliminary enumeration of railway occurrences (incidents and accidents) is an effort to broaden and deepen our understanding of the impacts and benefits that industrial development in general, and railways in particular, are having in northern BC.” This well-researched document includes a helpful list of terms and definitions used within the rail industry to describe the various types of rail accidents and incidents.
Along with the recent increase in media reports of growing rail safety concerns in Canada, Railway Occurrences (Incidents and Accidents) in Northern BC, 2003-2013 adds significantly to our understanding of just how many rail accidents occur every year. We hope this document will inspire other health and safety agencies across Canada to prepare and release, to the public, similar statistics for their respective geographic regions. These data can then cumulatively provide the public and rail safety experts with the necessary information they require to pressure our federal government into truly improving rail safety through enhanced legislation and enforcement.
The time is over for Transport Canada to let the rail industry monitor itself, especially considering the industry bottom line trumps safety. That’s like letting the fox guard the hen house.
And, the time is over for Transport Canada and the rail industry to ignore the hundreds of recommendations made repeatedly by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada to improve rail safety in meaningful ways.