Poor railway accident reporting warning by Canadian regulator

On Monday, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) warned three railway companies that their reporting of safety issues was inadequate. A seven-year review found there were 254 late or missing reports.

The three railways that were covered by the review were Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA), Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., and Canadian National Railway Co. (CN).

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic operated the train that exploded after derailing in Lac-Mégantic in 2013, tragically killing forty-seven people. Shortly after the disaster, the company went bankrupt and was sold. Today it operates as Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

The TSB is reminding all railway companies that they have an obligation to report all events outlined in the TSB Regulations.

By law, companies must report this information. TSB added that it will take enforcement action if it finds further cases of non-compliance.

The TSB announced on Monday that it has contacted the three railway companies and reminded them of their reporting obligations.

Lac-Mégantic Explosion

On July 6th, 2013, at Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, an unattended 74-car freight train transporting Bakken formation crude oil ran away, derailed and then exploded.

In a statement, TSB said:

“The majority of these occurrences were minor, and many involved rail yard operations, where there was limited damage, and no injuries reported. These occurrences have now been entered into the TSB railway occurrence database.

TSB Regulations were updated earlier this year – they clearly outline occurrence reporting requirements, the regulator stressed.

The regulator identified 132 extra accidents at CN over the seven-year period, including 24 last year. According to CN, it knew of all the incidents and had the data in its own internal analyses.

Canadian Pacific had 100 additional reportable accidents from January 2013 to February 2014. The regulator found 22 additional incidents at MMA from 2010 to the end of 2013.