Backgrounder

Recommendations for VIA Rail 92 crash (R12T0038) near Burlington, Ontario in February 2012

Occurrence

On 26 February 2012, VIA Rail passenger train 92, en route from Niagara Falls to Toronto, Ontario proceeding eastward entered a crossover near Burlington, Ontario, and derailed the locomotive and 5 coaches. The locomotive struck a building after it derailed and the locomotive cab was destroyed. Many passengers were injured, and the 3 crew members in the cab of the locomotive were fatally injured.

Recommendations

  1. The Department of Transport require major Canadian passenger and freight railways to implement physical fail-safe train controls, beginning with Canada's high speed rail corridors.

    R13-01

    • Currently, Canada's major passenger and freight railways rely solely on administrative defences (rules, procedures) to prevent this kind of accident. These defences alone are inadequate for situations where the train crew misperceives, misinterprets or does not follow a signal indication. The Board is calling for physical defences so that if a signal is missed, the train will be stopped automatically.

  2. The Department of Transport require that all controlling locomotives in main line operation be equipped with in-cab video cameras.

    R13-02

    • The absence of valuable information from in-cab voice and video recorders means there will always be unanswered questions, and represents a lost opportunity. Understanding the environment and interaction between the crew is vital. In order to prevent accidents in the future, we need to understand why the accidents happen.

  3. The Department of Transport require that crashworthiness standards for new locomotives also apply to rebuilt passenger and freight locomotives.

    R13-03

    • Currently, there is no requirement for rebuilt locomotives to meet standards for crashworthiness—only new locomotives. Many locomotives may be susceptible to cab structural, fuel tank and other failures during derailments. This includes over 90% of freight and passenger locomotives in Canada.

Process

Under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, federal ministers must formally respond to TSB recommendations and explain how they have addressed or will address the safety deficiencies. As of 11 June 2013, the Minister of Transport has 90 days to respond to recommendations put forth in investigation R12T0038.

Using an Assessment Rating Guide (which includes definitions for the status of recommendations), the Board evaluates the responses and their overall effectiveness. Each response is assessed as Fully Satisfactory, Satisfactory Intent, Satisfactory in Part or Unsatisfactory. Progress made to address TSB recommendations is assessed by the Board on an ongoing basis.