Lax CN Rail Communication Policy Partly to Blame for Train Collision
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a scathing report February 12 indicating that a head-on collision between 2 Canadian National Railway ore trains September 30, 2010 north of Two Harbors, Minnesota, was a result of crew error and a lax CN policy on train right-of-way communication on a route without signals (Duluth News Tribune).
The accident was blamed on the southbound CN train carrying 116 rail cars full of taconite ore. The crew left a siding and entered the main track before getting permission and collided with a northbound CN train with 118 empty rail cars. Three locomotives and 14 cars derailed, all 5 crew members from both trains were injured, and the derailment resulted in over $8 million in property damages. According to the NTSB, the crew on the southbound train was suffering from fatigue.
The Duluth News Tribune reports, “The NTSB recommended that CN use electronic equipment to better identify which trains have passed others on sidings. Relying on crew members to visually identify trains leads to assumptions about which one has the authority…”
See this link for more examples of the growing number of derailments and other accidents by CN Rail.