Railway Investigation R13E0142

Train derailment and fire in Gainford, Alberta

The occurrence

On 19 October 2013, while travelling westward into Gainford siding on the Edson Subdivision, CN Train M30151-18, with 134 cars, experienced an undesired emergency brake application in the area of the Gainford siding. Inspection revealed that cars 13 through 25 had derailed and were on their side. Dangerous goods were involved. The first four derailed cars were carrying petroleum crude oil and the following 9 cars were carrying liquefied petroleum gas. Sparks and flames were visible to the crew. No injuries were reported. The Transportation Safety Board has deployed a team of investigators.

Map of the area


Photo of James Carmichael

James Carmichael has been with the Transportation Board of Canada (TSB) in the Railway/Pipeline Investigations Branch since 2008. During his time at the TSB he has been a key investigator in a number of investigations in Western Canada.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Carmichael held various mechanical positions with four separate railroads. At British Columbia Railway (BCR) from 1980 to 2004, Mr. Carmichael gained considerable experience in the mechanical field; he worked as a carman and progressed into a management role as general supervisor in the Car Department. Over the next 4 years Mr. Carmichael worked for CN Rail and CP Rail as a mechanical supervisor. He was also regional manager for Mechanical with OmniTRAX's Carlton Trail, Hudson Bay, and Okanagan Valley Railroads. He holds certifications as a hazardous materials technician and tank car specialist and was a member of BCR's Emergency Response Team. Mr. Carmichael lives in Calgary, Alberta.


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Link to the TSB Flickr page

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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.


Deployment notices

Transportation Safety Board of Canada deploys a team of investigators to a rail accident in Gainford, Alberta
Read the deployment notice

Media advisories

News briefing on the investigation into the train derailment and fire in Gainford, Alberta
Read the media advisory