Ex-CN Rail Project Engineer Says Deaths Could Have Been Prevented
“A deadly high-speed Via Rail train derailment in Burlington, Ont., one year ago might have been prevented had CN heeded warnings and removed or upgraded an ‘obsolete’ crossover between tracks designed mainly for freight trains at a maximum speed of 24km/h, a former CN Rail project engineer (Scott Holmes) says.” (CBC News) On Feb. 26, 2012, three engineers were killed and 45 passengers were injured when a Via Rail passenger train derailed on its way from Niagara to Toronto.
Holmes says the investigators should be asking, Why was Via Rail train No. 92 directed through a sharply curved, slow speed crossover that CN seldom uses? He “was CN program supervisor for the GO commuter line project when he says he first raised safety concerns about the ‘obsolete’ crossover east of the Aldershot yard that ran between Track 2 and the new Track 3. CN was building a new third track and upgrading parts of an old freight service track to serve as a high-speed passenger rail line for Via and GO Transit. Holmes says he warned about potential safety issues in several emails. What’s more, Holmes says, he took CN regional chief engineer Manny Loureiro and GO project engineer Daryl Barnett on a field inspection one day, and recommended the switch be removed or upgraded to a high-speed crossover.” According to Holmes, Barnett told him there was no money for the upgrade, and said there were other cost-cutting measures associated with construction of the passenger line in 2006 including CN recycled some of the track and reinstalled many previously worn materials.
See this link for other examples of the many CN derailments and other accidents in Canada and the United States.