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Rail transportation safety investigation R16D0073

Update: The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 08 June 2017.

Table of contents

Misaligned switch and derailment

Canadian National Railway
Freight train M39421-11
Mile 93.22, Sherbrooke Subdivision
St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad

View final report

The occurrence

On 11 August 2016 at approximately 2119 Eastern Daylight Time, Canadian National Railway Company freight train M39421-11 was travelling eastward on the Sherbrooke Subdivision of the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad. At Acton Vale, Quebec, at Mile 93.22, the crew noticed that the switch was lined for the siding. The train's emergency brakes were applied, but the train was unable to stop before reaching the switch. It diverted into the siding and struck a derail, causing the derailment of the lead locomotive. The derail was destroyed and the track was slightly damaged. No one was injured.

Media materials

Deployment notice


TSB has deployed a team of investigators to a derailment in Acton Vale, Quebec

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) deployed a team of investigators to a derailment that occurred on 11 August 2016, in Acton Vale, Quebec. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Ian Perkins

an 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.

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 3 investigation. These investigations analyze a small number of safety issues, and may result in recommendations. Class 3 investigations are generally completed within 450 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.