Railway Investigation R16D0073

Non main-track derailment

The occurrence

On 11 August 2016, a Canadian National Railway (CN) freight train was operating on the Sherbrooke Subdivision near Acton Vale, Quebec, when it encountered the main track switch at Mile 93.22 in reverse position. The train consisted of 3 locomotives, 62 loaded cars and 14 empty cars. The crew applied the brakes, but the train entered a non-main track and derailed the leading truck of the lead locomotive. There were no injuries and no dangerous goods were released.

Map of the area


Photo of Ian Perkins

Ian Perkins began his railway career as a conductor at Canadian Pacific (CP). In 2009, he completed the locomotive engineer training program and in 2011 began working as a rules instructor. As a rules instructor, he trained and recertified both conductors and locomotive engineers. After working for nearly 10 years at CP, he joined the TSB as a senior regional investigator for Rail and Pipeline in the Quebec Region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Concordia University and a certificate in Transportation Logistics from McGill University.

Transportation Safety Board 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.


Deployment notices


TSB has deployed a team of investigators to a derailment in Acton Vale, Quebec
Read the deployment notice