News release

TSB launches investigation into bus-train collision in Ottawa, Ontario

Gatineau, Quebec, 18 September 2013 — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has launched a full investigation into the collision between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA Rail passenger train that occurred earlier today in Ottawa, Ontario.

“On behalf of everybody at the TSB, I extend our sincerest condolences to the families of those who lost a loved one,” said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “We are committed to finding out what happened, and why, so we can help ensure it doesn't happen again.”

At 08:48 this morning, a double-decker OC Transpo bus collided with VIA Rail passenger train 51 at a level crossing on the transitway east of the Fallowfield Station in Ottawa. The train was en route to Toronto. Shortly before 11:00, a team of TSB investigators arrived on scene, and began investigating the occurrence.

We are in the very early stages of our investigation, and a team of experts will continue to gather information, examine the accident site, and interview witnesses, passengers and bystanders. During this first phase of our investigation, the TSB will:

  • examine and document the accident site;
  • assess and photograph the wreckages of the train and bus;
  • examine the crossing, its design and the sight lines of the track from the road;
  • determine whether warning systems at the crossing (bells, lights, barriers, whistles, etc.) were functioning correctly; and
  • download and examine the data from the locomotive event recorder.

Crossing accidents have long been a concern for the TSB. Between 2003 and 2012, there were 2,162 crossing accidents on Canada’s federally-regulated railways, which resulted in 266 fatalities and 346 serious injuries.

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.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053

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