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Rail transportation safety investigation R19H0123

The TSB has completed this investigation. The report was published on 10 July 2020.

Table of contents

Main-track train collision with standing cut of cars foul of the main track

VIA Rail Canada Inc.
Passenger train 48
Mile 186.68, Canadian National Railway Company Kingston Subdivision
Ernestown, Ontario

View final report

The occurrence

On 5 September 2019, a VIA Rail Canada train was proceeding eastward on the Kingston Subdivision when it struck the side of a tank car that was partially obstructing the main track, at approximately Mile 186.5. Prior to the arrival of the VIA train, a CN yard assignment had been shoving a cut of 14 tank cars containing asphalt into an adjacent track at Ernestown when the yard assignment collided with two staged tank cars, which contained dangerous goods residues. Both staged tank cars derailed foul of the south main track. No injuries to crew or passengers and no leaks or exposures were reported.

Media materials

News release


Investigation report: September main-track collision between a passenger train and 2 tank cars in Ernestown, Ontario
Read the news release

Investigation information

Map showing the location of the occurrence


Photo of Jerry Berriault

Mr. Berriault has been with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) since 2007. He is a senior regional investigator, Central Region, based out of the Winnipeg, Manitoba, office.

Among other responsibilities, he has been the Investigator-in-charge of eight rail accident investigations and served as a team member in a number of other investigations throughout Canada, providing operational and technical expertise.

Before joining the TSB, Mr. Berriault held numerous positions with Canadian National Railway (CN) from 1980 until 2007, including superintendent of operations. While at CN, he gained extensive knowledge of all aspects of train operations, including both the mechanical and engineering functions.

Class of investigation

This is a class 4 investigation. These investigations are limited in scope, and while the final reports may contain limited analysis, they do not contain findings or recommendations. Class 4 investigations are generally completed within 220 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.