Publications

Departmental Performance Report

2.9 Rail Sector

2.9.1 Annual Statistics

A total of 1,246 rail accidents were reported to the TSB in 2005, a 9 per cent increase from the 2004 total of 1,138 and an 18 per cent increase from the 2000-2004 average of 1,055. Rail activity is estimated to have increased by 3 per cent over 2004 and by 6 per cent over the five-year average. The accident rate increased to 13.0 accidents per million train-miles in 2005, compared to 12.3 in 2004 and the five-year rate of 11.7. Rail-related fatalities totalled 103 in 2005, compared to 101 in 2004 and the five-year average of 93.

Six main-track collisions occurred in 2005, compared to five in 2004 and the five-year average of seven. In 2005, there were 195 main-track derailments, a 28 per cent increase from the 2004 total of 152 and a 47 per cent increase from the five-year average of 133.

Non-main-track derailments also showed a significant increase in 2005, totalling 538 compared to 450 in 2004 and the five-year average of 392. Several factors may have influenced the number of derailments that occurred in 2005. Out of them we noted the weather conditions but also the significant increase of the gross tonnage of trains on Canadian railways, which resulted in increased loading of the infrastructure.

In 2005, crossing accidents increased to 270 from the 2004 total of 237 and from the five-year average of 258. Crossing-related fatalities numbered 38, up from 25 in 2004 and the five-year average of 35. Trespasser accidents showed a 17 per cent decrease from 2004, from 99 to 82, but a 4 per cent increase over the five-year average of 79. With a total of 63 fatalities in 2005, trespasser accidents continue to account for the majority of rail fatalities.

In 2005, 215 rail accidents involved dangerous goods (this also includes crossing accidents in which the motor vehicle is carrying a dangerous good), up from 208 in 2004 but down from the five-year average of 222. Six of these accidents resulted in a release of product.

In 2005, rail incidents reported to the TSB in accordance with the mandatory reporting requirements reached a 23 year low of 244, down from 252 in 2004 and the five-year average of 300. Dangerous goods leakers not related to train accidents account for the largest proportion of total incidents each year. In 2005, dangerous goods leakers decreased to 124 from the 2004 total of 131 and from the five-year average of 166.

Figure 7 - Rail Occurrences and Fatalities

Figure 7. Rail Occurrences and Fatalities[D]f7

One indicator of rail transportation safety in Canada is the main-track accident rate. Although this accident rate increased from 2.8 accidents per million main-track train-miles in 2004 to 3.1 in 2005, it compares with the average accident rate (3.1) recorded over the past 10 years. The trend line also indicates a slight downward direction.

Figure 8 - Canadian Railway Main-Track Accident Rates

Figure 8. Canadian Railway Main-Track Accident Rates[D]f8

2.9.2 Investigations

Nine new rail investigations were started in 2005-2006 and 9 investigations were completed. This represents a significant decrease in the number of investigations completed compared to the previous year (from 25 to 9). This difference can be attributed to the fact that three extensive investigations consumed a large share of the resources available in 2005-2006. The average duration of completed investigations dropped to 519 days compared to 618 days the year before. This also represents a significant reduction in comparison to the past four years. The reduction is attributable to the concentrated efforts made to complete very old cases. A complete list of all rail reports released in 2005-2006 is available on the TSB website.

Table 13: Rail Productivity
  2001-
2002
2002-
2003
2003-
2004
2004-
2005
2005-
2006
Investigations started 12 18 14 14 9
Investigations completed 16 22 15 25 9
Average duration of completed investigations (Number of Days) 708 755 894 618 519
Recommendations 4 5 4 3 0
Safety advisories 7 6 7 6 9
Safety information letters 8 9 11 10 8

Note: Results can fluctuate significantly from year to year due to a number of factors such as staff turnover, the complexity of investigations and the investigation of major occurrences.

2.9.3 Link to Resources Utilized

Table 14 provides a picture of the net cost to Canadians of rail investigations. The net cost of rail investigations increased slightly compared to the previous year. The average net cost per investigation completed increased by 178 per cent compared to the previous year. This difference can be attributed to the fact that the average net cost per investigation completed in 2004-2005 was low because several of these investigations had been started in earlier years. The number of investigations started per investigator dropped slightly, whereas the number of investigations completed per investigator decreased significantly.

Table 14: Rail Resources
  2004-2005 2005-2006
FTE In thousands of dollars FTE In thousands of dollars
Actual costs - Rail Branch 23.2 2,595 22.7 2,652
Internal professional and communication services costs 16.2 1,845 17.5 1,728
Corporate Services costs 11.5 1,126 10.6 1,134
Contributions to employee benefit plans   701   741
Services received without charge   652   660
Net cost of Rail investigations 50.9 6,919 50.8 6,916
Indicators 2004-2005 2005-2006
Number of Rail investigators 19.0 20.0
Average net cost per investigation completed $276,749 $768,444
Investigations started per investigator 0.74 0.45
Investigations completed per investigator 1.32 0.45
2.9.4 Safety Actions Taken

No rail recommendations were issued in 2005-2006.

The railway industry and the regulator provided updated information as to the response to Board recommendations. The response to recommendations was reassessed for all 118 recommendations issued since 1991. The information provided prompted reassessment of active recommendations that were being monitored for industry response. The number of active recommendations was reduced from 54 to 26 as the response to 28 recommendations was assessed as fully satisfactory.

2.9.4.1 Other Rail Safety Actions Taken

In response to a Transport Canada (TC) Notice and Order issued by a TC Railway Safety Inspector, Canadian National (CN) took measures to ensure the accuracy of train journals. CN installed additional cameras to monitor cars during switching in rail yards and enhanced automatic car identification systems technology to facilitate prompt correction of any errors between train journals and clearing trains.

Subsequent to a derailment caused by truck hunting at speeds over 50 mph by gondola wood chip cars (TSB Report R04Q0006), the Board expressed concern that these particular cars, which are not equipped with supplementary stabilization systems, are prone to truck hunting at speeds in excess of 50 mph and present a risk of derailment. "Truck hunting" is rapid oscillation of an empty car truck at high speeds, where the flanges tend to ride up on the head of the rail.

Subsequent to a derailment in Bolton, Ontario, at a location with a combination of adverse track conditions (TSB Report R04T0013), Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) identified two additional track geometry defect types to be measured by the CPR track evaluation car. The new defect types take into consideration the effect of a combination of cross-level and alignment deficiencies and a combination of the train speed exceeding the design speed on a curve with unbalanced superelevation.

The TSB issued a Rail Safety Advisory subsequent to a crossing accident at Castleford, Ontario (TSB Report R04H0014). The advisory discusses the changing of the crossing warning signals from left-hand to right-hand orientation as viewed by an approaching motorist. This change was done to comply with a new standard that crossing signals be right-hand oriented. However, the curvature of the approaching roadway mandated that the signals be left-hand oriented to provide a better sightline of the signals when approaching. Left-hand oriented signals are in the process of being installed at that crossing.

After several derailments involving a breach of containment in tank cars loaded with anhydrous ammonia and subsequent exposure injury, including fatal injury, the classification of anhydrous ammonia is being changed from Class 2.2, non-flammable and non-toxic gases, to Class 2.3, toxic gases, with a sub-class 8, corrosive. The revisions to the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations are expected to be published in fiscal year 2006-2007.

Subsequent to a derailment in Estevan, Saskatchewan, CPR developed and distributed a "Tech Tip" poster across its system to illustrate what to look for when inspecting freight car centre plates and side bearings (TSB Report R04W0148). CPR instructed all certified car inspectors to review the poster. As well, CPR developed and implemented a system-wide risk assessment process that requires its Engineering and Field Operations departments to jointly perform a risk assessment on the track condition before any significant operational changes or when traffic is expected to increase substantially.

TC-approved Railway Locomotive Inspection and Safety Rules were revised, effective January 2006, with changes to the criteria and timeliness of safety inspections on locomotives.

TC developed a Canadian Road/Railway Grade Crossing Detailed Safety Assessment Field Guide (TP 14372E), dated April 2005, to promote enhanced pedestrian crossing protection as part of its compliance, awareness and research programs, and to guide persons performing grade crossing assessments.

Subsequent to the complete fracture and failure of a draft gear stop block in a dangerous commodities tank car (TSB Occurrence R04H0018), which was fortunately caught by inspection, the TSB Engineering Laboratory conducted a failure analysis of the fractured steel. It was determined that the stop block did not conform to the applicable Association of American Railroads (AAR) standard. A TSB Rail Safety Information Letter with this information was forwarded to the AAR.

The AAR revised Standard S-580, Locomotive Crashworthiness Requirements, effective July 2005, to include requirements for car body-to-truck attachment and for emergency interior lighting on locomotives manufactured after 2008.

In response to a TSB Rail Safety Advisory and a Rail Safety Information Letter concerning improper loading of steel products on flat cars, CN set off all line shipments of such steel products to confirm that the loading was in compliance with the AAR rules. CN took measures to ensure that shippers of such steel products reviewed the proper loading requirements and provided copies of the required loading patterns. The AAR developed revisions to the Open Top Loading Rules to clarify the guidelines for such loads, and published the revisions in AAR Circular Letter C-10146.

In response to a TSB Rail Safety Advisory concerning shattered rim defects in Southern CH36 wheels manufactured in 1995 and the resultant derailments, the AAR declared that those wheels must be removed from the North American car fleet whenever the cars are in a repair shop and must not be put on another car. The Field Manual of the AAR Interchange Rules was revised accordingly. CN and CPR initiated programs that go beyond the requirements of the AAR. They are removing all Southern wheels from their equipment and have instructed their suppliers not to install Southern wheels on any cars owned or leased by them.

2.10 Air Sector

2.10.1 Annual Statistics

Canadian-registered aircraft, other than ultralights, were involved in 258 reported accidents in 2005, a 2 per cent increase from the 2004 total of 252 but a 10 per cent decrease from the 2000-2004 average of 287. The estimate of flying activity for 2005 is 3,832,000 hours, yielding an accident rate of 6.7 accidents per 100,000 flying hours, up from the 2004 rate of 6.5 but down from the five-year rate of 7.3. Canadian registered aircraft, other than ultralights, were involved in 34 fatal occurrences with 51 fatalities in 2005, higher than the 24 fatal occurrences with 37 fatalities in 2004 but comparable to the five year average of 32 fatal occurrences with 54 fatalities. A total of 20 fatal occurrences involved privately operated aircraft (13 aeroplanes, 6 helicopters and 1 glider), and 12 of the remaining 14 fatal occurrences involved commercial operators (9 aeroplanes and 3 helicopters).

The number of accidents involving ultralights decreased to 30 in 2005 from 36 in 2004, and the number of fatal accidents decreased slightly to 5 in 2005 from 6 in 2004.

The number of foreign-registered aircraft accidents in Canada decreased to 18 in 2005 from 20 in 2004. Fatal accidents increased to 6 in 2005, from 3 in 2004.

In 2005, a total of 823 incidents6 were reported to the TSB in accordance with the mandatory reporting requirements. This represents a 9 per cent decrease from the 2004 total of 909 and a 2 per cent decrease from the 2000-2004 average of 837.

Figure 9 - Air Occurrences and Fatalities

Figure 9. Air Occurrences and Fatalities[D]f9

One indicator of air transportation safety in Canada is the accident rate for Canadian-registered aircraft. This rate increased slightly from 6.5 accidents per 100,000 hours in 2004 to 6.7 in 2005, but remained below the five-year average. The trend line also shows a downward direction over the past 10 years.

Figure 10 - Canadian-Registered Aircraft Accident Rates

Figure 10. Canadian-Registered Aircraft Accident Rates[D]f10

2.10.2 Investigations

A total of 50 air investigations were started in 2005-2006 and 53 investigations were completed. This represents a significant decrease in the number of investigations completed compared to the previous year (67). The average duration of completed investigations has also decreased to 404 days, compared to 524 the year before. This is attributable to the concentrated efforts made to complete older cases. A complete list of all air reports released in 2005-2006 is available on the TSB website.

Table 15: Air Productivity
  2001-
2002
2002-
2003
2003-
2004
2004-
2005
2005-
2006
Investigations started 65 56 47 44 50
Investigations completed 74 70 40 67 53
Average duration of completed investigations (Number of Days) 505 494 485 524 404
Recommendations 7 17 0 4 6
Safety advisories 14 13 9 9 7
Safety information letters 8 6 8 6 5

Note: Results can fluctuate significantly from year to year due to a number of factors such as staff turnover, the complexity of investigations and the investigation of major occurrences.

2.10.3 Link to Resources Utilized

Table 16 provides a picture of the net cost to Canadians of air investigations. Compared to the previous year, the net cost of investigations decreased slightly. However, the average net cost per investigation completed increased by 24 per cent because of the scope of the investigations conducted. The number of investigations started per investigator rose slightly, whereas the number of investigations completed per investigator decreased.

Table 16: Air Resources
  2004-2005 2005-2006
FTE In thousands of dollars FTE In thousands of dollars
Actual costs - Air Branch 59.4 7,567 56.9 7,617
Internal professional and communication services costs 41.7 5,378 43.8 4,963
Corporate Services costs 29.5 3,283 26.5 3,258
Contributions to employee benefit plans   2,043   2,128
Services received without charge   1,902   1,896
Net cost of Air investigations 130.6 20,173 127.2 19,861
Indicators 2004-2005 2005-2006
Number of Air investigators 54.0 51.7
Average net cost per investigation completed $301,088 $374,741
Investigations started per investigator 0.81 0.97
Investigations completed per investigator 1.24 1.03
2.10.4 Safety Actions Taken

Six air safety recommendations were issued in 2005-2006. To date, responses are pending for each one.

The Air Branch re-assessed responses to recommendations issued in the previous years. The Board approved these re-assessments in May 2005 and sent them to Transport Canada's Director General, Civil Aviation in June 2005. In 2005, 57 active recommendations were examined. With Board approval, 22 recommendations went from active status to inactive status. In summary, following the Board's 2005 re-assessment, there were 35 active recommendations remaining. The re assessment of responses to recommendations issued in this sector in 2004-2005 is contained in Appendix C.

2.10.4.1 Air Recommendations Issued in 2005-2006
Occurrence No. A05C0187: Winnipeg, Manitoba - 6 October 2005
Cessna 208 Operation into Icing Conditions - Morningstar Air Express Inc.
RECOMMENDATION RESPONSE BOARD ASSESSMENT OF RESPONSE SAFETY ACTION TAKEN
A06-01
The Department of Transport take action to restrict the dispatch of Canadian Cessna 208, 208A, and 208B aircraft into forecast icing meteorological conditions exceeding "light," and prohibit the continued operation in these conditions, until the airworthiness of the aircraft to operate in such conditions is demonstrated. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year
A06-02
The Department of Transport require that Canadian Cessna 208 operators maintain a minimum operating airspeed of 120 knots during icing conditions and exit icing conditions as soon as performance degradations prevent the aircraft from maintaining 120 knots. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year
A06-03
The Federal Aviation Administration take action to revise the certification of Cessna 208, 208A, and 208B aircraft to prohibit flight into forecast or in actual icing meteorological conditions exceeding "light," until the airworthiness of the aircraft to operate in such conditions is demonstrated. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year
A06-04
The Federal Aviation Administration require that Cessna 208 operators maintain a minimum operating airspeed of 120 knots during icing conditions and exit icing conditions as soon as performance degradations prevent the aircraft from maintaining 120 knots. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year
Occurrence No. A05F0047: Varadero, Cuba - 6 March 2005
RECOMMENDATION RESPONSE BOARD ASSESSMENT OF RESPONSE SAFETY ACTION TAKEN
A06-05
The Department of Transport, in coordination with other involved regulatory authorities and industry, urgently develop and implement an inspection program that will allow early and consistent detection of damage to the rudder assembly of aircraft equipped with part number A55471500 series rudders. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year
A06-06
The European Aviation Safety Agency, in coordination with other involved regulatory authorities and industry, urgently develop and implement an inspection program that will allow early and consistent detection of damage to the rudder assembly of aircraft equipped with part number A55471500 series rudders. Awaiting response Pending To be reported next fiscal year

2.10.4.2 Other Air Safety Actions Taken

Following an internal investigation into the occurrence involving control difficulties due to airframe icing, Northern Thunderbird Air Inc., as an interim safety action, distributed a memorandum to advise flight crews to review all available weather data before flights. The company has since developed a syllabus, examination and emergency checklist regarding severe icing and has implemented them as part of its training program to provide flight crews with more in-depth knowledge of severe icing conditions and exit strategies.

As a result of a tail-rotor strike by an external load and subsequent loss of control by a Transport Canada (TC) helicopter, the TC Aircraft Services Directorate issued a safety notice restricting operations with empty or light external sling loads. On 25 May 2005, the TC Aircraft Services Directorate produced draft standard operating procedures (SOPs) for helicopter external load operations. These SOPs restrict the use of bonnets and caution pilots about light and unstable loads.

Following an in-flight engine failure on a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-200 aircraft, TC issued Service Difficulty Advisory 2004-05. This advisory strongly advises maintainers, operators and other responsible persons that compressor surging should be given the same attention as compressor stalls. Surges should be considered to be minor stalls, and the damage that can occur should not be underestimated. The advisory also stated that compressor surges and stalls can induce latent fatigue fractures culminating in engine failures.

As a result of a risk of collision occurrence, NAV CANADA initiated an airspace study entitled Airspace Review of the Vancouver, Lower Mainland and Victoria Areas on November 26, 2003. The purpose of the study was to determine the optimum airspace configuration, routes and procedures required for the area. Both operators involved in the occurrence are active participants in this study. Both operators and NAV CANADA are involved in frequent dialogue regarding traffic conflicts and the safety of their operations. Both operators believe that the number of conflicts has been reduced as a result.

As a result of an occurrence involving an elevator restriction at take-off, Bombardier issued a revised procedure for control checks following application of de-icing or anti-icing fluids. The operator took steps to ensure that, when two trucks are used to de-ice an aircraft, they operate symmetrically. The operator also incorporated lessons from this occurrence into flight crew briefings on winter operations and specifically highlighted the manufacturer's recommendation as to flight control checks. The operator amended the SOPs for the Dash 8 to include a new requirement for a control check to be performed after application of de-icing and anti-icing fluids.

Following an occurrence involving aircraft pitch-up/stall warning on departure, Air Canada implemented several initiatives aimed at enhancing flight crew safety awareness.

  • Manuals were updated to reflect new information on speed protection annunciation and information received from Boeing that addresses autopilot operations in a degraded mode of operation.
  • The Flight Crew Training Manual was updated with a description of the incident, along with a reminder that, when the aircraft is on autopilot and operating in a degraded mode, speed protection will not be available and crew intervention will be required.
  • The 2004 Winter Instrument Procedures Flight had, as part of the pre-briefing, a PowerPoint presentation and instructor/candidate interactive dialogue that included what happened during this event.
  • Flight crews now view a pictorial display of flight deck indications that demonstrate when crew intervention would be required.
  • Flight technical personnel, in conjunction with Air Canada Tech Ops, are determining if all aircraft need to be configured to flight control computer Customer Option 6 or one of the other available options.
  • An Aircraft Technical Bulletin has been created to make crews aware of speed protection annunciation and autopilot flight director system failures. This bulletin will remain active until all the relevant information is made available in the aircraft operating manual.
  • Boeing 767 SOPs, Initial Climb, have been amended to include an automatic flight speed protection warning: "WARNING - The auto flight system design lacks airspeed protection in ALT CAP mode. Excessive rate of climb when transitioning to ALT CAP mode can create an insufficient energy condition resulting in rapid airspeed decay."

As a result of a risk of collision occurrence, NAV CANADA developed and implemented procedures detailing helicopter operations at the London International Airport, Ontario. Local helicopter operators were briefed on the procedures. As well, NAV CANADA staffed the position of Unit Operations Specialist at the London control tower.

As a result of a wing scrape occurrence during the performance of a rejected approach in poor weather, TC is proposing changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations that will define the use of pilot-monitored approaches as part of the new approach-ban regulations. In response to this occurrence, TC regional staff conducted an inspection of the weather observation service at Moncton, New Brunswick, on October 5, 2005. As a result of the findings, the floodlights near the ceiling projector were adjusted to reduce interference with weather observations, and NAV CANADA implemented new procedures to improve the communication of information related to changing weather conditions between the weather office and the tower personnel.

Following a fatal floatplane upset occurrence, TC published an article in Issue 1/2005 of the Aviation Safety Letter, and plans to prepare new or revised safety promotional material to address the topic of underwater egress. It also intends to develop an emergency procedures training program for its inspectors and to review information on seaplane operations to determine the best method to reach private operators with information on conducting thorough pre-flight briefings, including underwater egress and situational awareness.

TC published an article in Issue 2/2005 of the Aviation Safety Letter that summarized an occurrence in which a pilot had advised a friend of his proposed flight itinerary, but the friend was unaware of his responsibilities concerning search and rescue notification requirements. The Aviation Safety Letter is sent to all Canadian licensed pilots. The article emphasized the need for pilots to ensure that persons responsible for the flight itinerary fully understand the search and rescue notification requirements.

Following an occurrence in which a landing gear collapsed as a result of the installation of an incorrect part during maintenance and failure to properly check the installation, Northern Dene Airways Ltd. commissioned an independent safety audit of its complete operation. All maintenance staff of the authorized organization responsible for maintaining Northern Dene Airways Ltd.'s aircraft met to review the company's maintenance procedures outlined in its Maintenance Policy Manual. The following policy was reinforced: "No one is to install any parts on any aircraft without first referring to the appropriate parts and service manuals to ensure correct part number and also that the integrity of the affected aircraft system is still in place."

A Canadian Helicopters Limited helicopter departed into environmental conditions conducive to whiteout and collided with terrain with one fatality. Following the occurrence, the company, as part of its safety management system, completed an internal investigation to draw lessons from the accident. Canadian Helicopters Limited increased its use of full-motion flight simulator training to help replicate departures under whiteout conditions and to monitor flight crew interaction. Following a review of its existing SOPs, simulator training will also emphasize compliance. The company instituted a policy requiring a minimum of 50 hours on type before pilots perform departures under whiteout conditions. It is assessing the use of low-profile reflective markers at Northern Warning System helipads to provide additional visual cues along departure and approach paths.

As a result of a component failure on a Lockheed L382 Hercules, Lockheed Martin issued Revision 3 of Service Bulletin 382-53-61/82-752, dated August 4, 2005. Revision 3 of the Service Bulletin specifically identified the need for a visual inspection of the wing-to-fuselage attach angles on applicable aircraft, to be accomplished within 30 days after receipt of the Service Bulletin to determine if repairs have been installed, and further recommended replacement of any previously repaired attach angle within 365 days.

Following an engine fire and crash of a Piper PA-31-350, TC confirmed, after consultation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, that the intent of Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2002 12-07 was to include "ALL rebuild or overhauled engines." Effectively, the intent was to broaden the "Applicability" section of the AD to ensure that all affected (old-style) gaskets identified by part number LW 13388 be removed from service, purged from the system, and replaced with new gaskets identified by part number 06B23072, in accordance with Part II or Part III of Textron Lycoming Supplement 1 to Mandatory Service Bulletin (MSB) 543A. TC sent a Service Difficulty Alert (AL-2005-08), dated October 17, 2005, to all owners, operators and overhaul facilities to ensure that owners/operators and overhaul facilities of engines affected by AD 2002-12-07 had complied with all the requirements stated within the AD, incorporated Lycoming MSB 543 latest issue, and ensured that inventories of spare parts had been purged of any converter plate gaskets identified by part number LW.