Railway Investigation R15H0013

Derailment and fire of Canadian National crude oil train near Gogama, Ontario

The occurrence

On 14 February 2015, a Canadian National (CN) crude oil unit train was proceeding eastward on CN's Ruel Subdivision near Gogama, Ontario. The train crew was composed of a locomotive engineer and a conductor. The train was equipped with 2 head-end locomotives hauling 100 Class 111 tank cars, 68 loaded with Petroleum Crude Oil (UN 1267) and 32 loaded with Petroleum Distillates (UN 1268). The train was 6089 feet long and weighed 14 355 tons.

At about 23:50, while travelling at 38 mph, the train crew felt a heavy tug on the train and a train-initiated emergency brake application occurred near Mile 111.6. Subsequently, the crew observed a fire about 10 cars behind the locomotives, so they detached the locomotives from the train. The temperature at the time was -31°C and a slow order (speed restriction) of 40 mph was in place.

Map of the area

Investigator-in-charge

Photo of Robert Bruder

Robert Bruder joined the Transportation Safety Board in September of 2013 as Regional Senior Investigator Rail/Pipeline at the TSB’s Toronto office. Mr. Bruder has an extensive background in railway operations and risk management garnered over a 36-year career with CN Rail. He managed CN’s Risk Management Department for Eastern Canada from 2004 to 2013, and was extensively involved in development and implementation of CN’s safety management system, accident/injury investigation, analysis and cause-finding processes, as well as derailment emergency response and mitigation.

Photos

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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 marine, pipeline, railway and aviation 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.

Report

Final report
2017-02-16

Railway Investigation Report R15H0013
Main-track train derailment
Canadian National Railway
Freight train U70451-10
Mile 111.7, Ruel Subdivision
Gladwick, Ontario
14 February 2015

Safety communications

Recommendations
2017-02-16

TSB Recommendation R17-01: The Department of Transport conduct a study on the factors that increase the severity of the outcomes for derailments involving dangerous goods, identify appropriate mitigating strategies including train speeds for various train risk profiles and amend the Rules Respecting Key Trains and Key Routes accordingly.

All rail recommendations

Safety advisories
2015-03-17

Rail Safety Advisory Letter 04/15: Condition of track infrastructure on CN Ruel subdivision
Read the rail safety advisory letter

Media materials

News releases
2017-02-16

TSB calls for strategies to reduce severity of dangerous goods derailments following investigation into February 2015 accident near Gogama, Ontario
Read the news release

2015-02-23

Update on derailment and fire of Canadian National crude oil train near Gogama, Ontario
Read the news release

Backgrounders
2017-02-16

Information about tank cars that carry flammable liquids
Read the backgrounder

2017-02-16

Safety communications for TSB investigation (R15H0013) into the February 2015 derailment and fire of a Canadian National crude oil train near Gogama, Ontario
Read the backgrounder

Speeches and presentations
2017-02-16

News conference for Gladwick (R15H0013): Opening remarks
Read the remarks

Media advisories
2017-02-13

News Conference: TSB to release of final railway investigation report of the 14 February 2015 derailment and fire of Canadian National crude oil train near Gogama, Ontario
Read the media advisory

Deployment notice
2015-02-15

Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys team to crude oil train derailment and fire 80 km south of Timmins, Ontario
Read the deployment notice