Train collision, derailment west of Winnipeg was due to crew fatigue, inexperience: safety board

A 2019 collision and derailment involving two freight trains west of Winnipeg was the result of crew fatigue and inexperience, according to the Transportation Safety Board.

Two locomotives and eight freight cars went off the tracks in January 2019, east of Portage la Prairie, Man. A diesel fuel leak was detected at the time but it was contained.

The two lead locomotives on an eastbound train derailed and the train conductor sustained minor injuries. Eight cars on the westbound train derailed and one car was damaged but did not derail.

The board’s investigation found one of the engineers had missed a signal to stop because of fatigue and the conductor on the same train deferred to the engineer because of inexperience on the job.

The agency made two recommendations to Transport Canada to prevent similar accidents in future.

The board says Transport Canada should implement physical fail-safe train controls more quickly on Canada’s high-speed rail corridors, which would act as backup safety defences against human error.

It also recommends Transport Canada require railways to bolster their training for employees.

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