Canadian National Railway “Put Profits Over Safety” Says Attorney
The attorney representing Canadian National Railway crew members who were injured when 93 cars derailed in Two Harbors, Minnesota on December 5, 2013, blamed the incident on CN’s failure to remove snow and ice from the tracks (Lake County News Chronicle, Northlands News Center).
Three crew members were injured when a 107-car CN train carrying iron ore derailed as it entered the Two Harbors rail yard, sending 76 cars off the tracks. Another 17 cars parked next to the moving train were also pushed off the tracks. Trains were unable to operate in that portion of the yard for some time, interrupting shipment of iron ore.
The attorney said CN had been informed earlier in the day of unsafe snow and ice conditions between the Highland siding and Waldo and the 4-mile descent into the Two Harbors rail yard. The same day, another runaway train had been reported on the same track, but fortunately that train’s crew were able to regain control of the train. The attorney was quoted as saying, “The railroad had advance knowledge of the storm and information from knowledgeable railroaders about conditions. If attempts were made to clear the snow, they were inadequate. As a consequence, these guys were not going to be able to control that train. The railroad knew it, but they kept sending the train on the track with deep snow.” He said CN’s decision-making did not reflect a regard for the well-being of its employees. “When you put profits over safety, this is what happens”, he said.
Neighbouring business operators said they had never seen a train pileup of this magnitude, and a retired CN engineer said the derailment was one of the 2 most serious train-related incidents he had seen since he started working on railroads in 1974.
One crew member remains in hospital while 2 others are under a doctor’s care. The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the derailment. See CN Railway Derailments, Other Accidents and Incidents for hundreds of additional examples of CN derailments.