Rail transportation safety investigation R15H0021

Update: The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 03 August 2017.

Table of contents

Main-track train derailment

Freight train U70451-02
Mile 88.75, Ruel Subdivision
Gogama, Ontario

View final report

The occurrence

On , at 0242 Eastern Standard Time, Canadian National Railway Company (CN) crude oil unit train U70451-02 was proceeding eastward at about 43 mph on CN's Ruel Subdivision when it experienced a train-initiated emergency brake application at Mile 88.70, near Gogama, Ontario. A subsequent inspection determined that the 6th to the 44th cars (39 cars in total) had derailed. As a result of the derailment, about 2.6 million litres of petroleum crude oil (UN1267) was released to atmosphere, water, or surface. The released product ignited and caused explosions, and some product entered the nearby Makami River. A CN bridge over the Makami River (at Mile 88.70) and about 1000 feet of track were destroyed. There was no evacuation, and there were no injuries.

Safety communications

Recommendations

2017-08-03

TSB Recommendation R17-02: The Department of Transport acquire rail surface condition data, including information on localized surface collapse, rail end batter and crushed heads, and incorporate it into its risk-based planning approach for targeted regulatory track inspections.

Safety advisories

2015-03-17

Rail Safety Advisory Letter 04/15: Condition of track infrastructure on CN Ruel subdivision

Other correspondence

2014-10-09

Letter to Transport Canada regarding: Replacement and Retrofit of Class 111 Tank Cars

2014-10-09

Letter to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regarding: Replacement and Retrofit of Class 111 Tank Cars

Media materials

News releases

2017-08-03

TSB recommends the use of leading indicators to help better focus track inspections following 2015 derailment near Gogama, Ontario
Read the news release

2015-03-17

Derailment and fire of second Canadian National crude oil train near Gogama, ON
Read the news release

Backgrounders

Speeches

2017-08-03

News conference for Gogama (R15H0021): Opening remarks

Kathy Fox,
Chair, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Rob Johnston,
Manager Central regional operations, Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Deployment notice

2015-03-07

TSB deploys team to crude oil train derailment and fire 3 km west of Gogama, Ontario

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to a derailment and fire involving a crude oil train operated by CN approximately 3 km west of Gogama, Ontario. This accident is approximately 37 km from the site of a previous accident involving a CN unit crude oil train which occurred on 14 February 2015. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.


Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Investigator-in-charge

Photo of George Fowler

George Fowler has been with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada since 2002. Prior to joining the TSB, he held various senior engineering positions during a 30 year career with CN in Edmonton, Kamloops, Montreal and Toronto.

Mr. Fowler has extensive knowledge and experience in railroad engineering and has been involved in the investigations of a number of serious railroad occurrences across Canada since joining the TSB.

Mr. Fowler graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Civil Engineering and is a registered professional engineer.


Photos


  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 2 investigation. These investigations are particularly complex and involve several safety issues requiring in-depth analysis. Class 2 investigations, which frequently result in recommendations, are generally completed within 600 days. For more information, see the Policy on Occurrence Classification.

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 air, marine, pipeline, and rail 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.

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