Rail transportation safety investigation R18E0007

Updated in August 2018: This ongoing investigation is in the report phase.

Table of contents

Uncontrolled movement

The occurrence

On , after leaving Luscar, Alberta, on the Luscar Industrial Spur, a freight train operated by Canadian National did not respond to the initial brake application as expected. The crew initiated an emergency brake application. However, the train continued to accelerate and reached a speed of 53 mph, exceeding the 15 mph maximum speed before the train came to a stop at Mile 0.5. There were no injuries reported. The TSB is investigating.

Safety communication

Safety advisories


Rail Safety Advisory Letter 04/18: Potential brake valve failures on cars that have been in long term storage

Media materials

Deployment notice


TSB deploys a team of investigators following runaway train incident near Luscar, Alberta

The Transportation Safety Board is deploying a team of investigators following a runaway train incident near Luscar, Alberta. There was no derailment or dangerous goods released. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence.

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Don Crawford

Don Crawford has many years of national and international railway experience. In his early career, he was a locomotive engineer with Canadian National (CN) Railway on its British Columbia North Corridor and Vancouver based territories and with BC Rail on the former BC Rail property. In addition, Mr. Crawford has experience in training and supervisory roles and was a staff member at CN's Gimli, Manitoba training facility. Internationally, Mr. Crawford worked in Kosovo after the 1998/99 war as part of the United Nations Peace Keeping effort helping to restore rail service to the country. Most recently, Mr. Crawford worked in Saudi Arabia as a locomotive instructor.

  Download high-resolution photos from the TSB Flickr page.

Class of investigation

This is a class 2 investigation. These investigations are 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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