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Rail transportation safety investigation R19H0021

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 8 April 2020.

Table of contents

Rolling stock collision with object and employee injury

VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Train No. 62/52
Mile 240.44, Kingston Subdivision
Brighton, Ontario

View final report

The occurrence

On 02 February 2019, at 1007 Eastern Standard Time, VIA Rail Canada Inc. passenger train 62/52, with 302 passengers on board, was proceeding eastward at about 95 mph on the north track of the Kingston Subdivision when the train experienced a train-initiated emergency brake application near Brighton, Ontario (Mile 240.8). An inspection determined that the train had passed over track maintenance material placed between the rails. Some tie plates and ballast became airborne, damaged the train and struck a nearby Canadian National Railway Company engineering hi-rail vehicle. There were no injuries to the crew or passengers aboard the train, but an employee seated in the hi-rail vehicle was seriously injured. A fuel tank on one of the locomotives was punctured and released about 1600 gallons of diesel fuel.

Safety communication


Rail Safety Advisory Letter 617-03/19: VIA trains coming into contact with track materials placed between the rails in preparation for track work

Media materials

News release


TSB investigation highlights risks of leaving track maintenance materials between rails while passenger trains are in operation
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Glen Pilon

Glen Pilon has been with the TSB since 2008 as Technical Coordinator and investigator at the TSB Head Office in Gatineau, Quebec. He has been the investigator-in-charge of a number of rail accident investigations and has acted as train operations expert on many others. Mr. Pilon worked for the Ottawa Valley Railway (OVR) from 1996 until 2008 as locomotive engineer and safety officer and with the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) from 1987 until 1996 in operations as trainman and conductor.

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.