News release

TSB concerned about the risk of derailment of heavy passenger locomotives on lower classes of track

Gatineau, Quebec, 24 January 2013 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released today its investigation report (R11D0099) into the 9 December 2011 derailment of an Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT) commuter train, in Montréal, Quebec, citing track conditions and a heavier locomotive as factors in the derailment.

The AMT commuter train derailed when a locomotive wheel dropped inside the rail as the train moved around a curve upon arrival in Central Station. The 1400 passengers on the train were evacuated safely. A number of factors contributed to the derailment: the TSB investigation focused on the weight of the locomotive, the track conditions in Central Station, and the track safety standards for lower classes of track.

The standards for station tracks are less stringent than for other tracks in the rail network because trains operate at lower speeds in stations. In this investigation, the TSB learned that the heavier passenger locomotive, combined with the existing track conditions, caused the track to widen despite lower speeds. New locomotives on Canadian railways are typically heavier, and it is likely there will be many more operating in the future as commuter rail networks grow and new equipment is bought. Lower classes of track may not always be up to the task of carrying these heavy locomotives safely.

"We need to make sure that heavier locomotives can be operated safely on lower classes of track," said Kathy Fox, TSB Board Member. "That is the TSB's concern."

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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053