Rail transportation safety investigation R18V0016

Update: The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 21 February 2019.

Table of contents

Main-track train derailment

Canadian National Railway Company
Freight train C76751-17
Mile 49.07, Bulkley Subdivision
New Hazelton, British Columbia

View final report

The occurrence

On , at about 0718 Pacific Standard Time, Canadian National Railway Company freight train C76751-17, proceeding westward at 29 mph, experienced a train-initiated emergency brake application at Mile 49.07 of the Bulkley Subdivision near New Hazelton, British Columbia. A subsequent inspection determined that 27 gondola cars loaded with thermal coal had derailed, with some coal spilled into the nearby waterway. There were no injuries and no dangerous goods were involved.

Media materials

News release

2019-02-21

A broken axle led to January 2018 derailment of CN freight train near New Hazelton, British Columbia
Read the news release


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Investigator-in-charge

Photo of James Carmichael

James Carmichael has been with the Transportation Board of Canada (TSB) in the Railway/Pipeline Investigations Branch since 2008. During his time at the TSB he has been a key investigator in a number of investigations in Western Canada.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Carmichael held various mechanical positions with four separate railroads. At British Columbia Railway (BCR) from 1980 to 2004, Mr. Carmichael gained considerable experience in the mechanical field; he worked as a carman and progressed into a management role as general supervisor in the Car Department. Over the next 4 years Mr. Carmichael worked for CN Rail and CP Rail as a mechanical supervisor. He was also regional manager for Mechanical with OmniTRAX's Carlton Trail, Hudson Bay, and Okanagan Valley Railroads. He holds certifications as a hazardous materials technician and tank car specialist and was a member of BCR's Emergency Response Team. Mr. Carmichael lives in Calgary, Alberta.


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Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

TSB investigation process

There are 3 phases to a TSB investigation

  1. Field phase: a team of investigators examines the occurrence site and wreckage, interviews witnesses and collects pertinent information.
  2. Examination and analysis phase: the TSB reviews pertinent records, tests components of the wreckage in the lab, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the TSB advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report.
  3. Report phase: a confidential draft report is approved by the Board and sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The Board considers all representations before approving the final report, which is subsequently released to the public.

For more information, see our Investigation process page.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates air, marine, pipeline, and rail transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

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