Rail transportation safety investigation R20H0079

Updated in September 2020: This investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Rolling stock damage without derailment

Ottawa Light Rail Transit

The occurrence

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is conducting an investigation after cracks were found on a total of four wheels on three separate Ottawa Light Rail Transit (OLRT) vehicles during maintenance and inspection activities in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.

What we know

On 02 July 2020, during maintenance activities, cracks were found in the area of two wheels that were secured to the axle by bolts in both wheels of a wheelset of Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) 1113 (R20H0079).

On 03 July 2020, two additional wheels with similar cracks were identified, one cracked wheel on LRV 1108 (R20H0080) and one cracked wheel on LRV 1133 (R20H0081). The affected LRVs were taken out of service for bogie replacement.

To date, OLRT fleet inspections have identified cracks on a total of four wheels from three different LRVs.

Following the detection of the cracks, half of the OLRT vehicles fleet has been taken out of service.

Media materials

Investigation notice

2020-07-10

TSB launches investigation into wheel cracks on Ottawa Light Rail Transit vehicles

Gatineau, Québec, 10 July 2020 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is conducting a class 3 investigation after cracks were found on a total of four wheels on three separate Ottawa Light Rail Transit (OLRT) vehicles during maintenance and inspection activities.


Investigation information



Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Rob Johnston

Mr. Rob Johnston has been with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) since 2001. He was Senior Regional Investigator in Winnipeg until 2004, when he assumed the position of Senior Investigator, Standards and Training Officer at TSB Head Office in Gatineau, Quebec. He became Manager of Central Regional Operations in November 2009, and served as Acting Director of Investigations - Rail/Pipeline for 9 months in 2010– 2011.

He now manages a staff of 6 rail/pipeline investigators in Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa, and is responsible for all activities related to rail investigations in TSB’s Central Region, which extends from Cornwall, Ontario, to near the Alberta–Saskatchewan border.

During his time at the TSB, Mr. Johnston has been involved in over 60 TSB accident investigations as either an Investigator-in-Charge or as an investigation team member providing technical expertise.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Johnston worked for Canadian Pacific Railway in Winnipeg from 1984 until 2001, where, as a member of the Train Accident Prevention group, he acquired an extensive background in mechanical operations, failure analysis, and dangerous goods.


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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