Pictou County train derailment cause determined

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HALIFAX - A track buckle has been identified as the cause of last month's train derailment in Pictou County a report by Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway.

A sudden and unusual fluctuation of rail temperature and accumulated steel stress in a section of track created the buckle.  

 

Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, has said it is critical for government to have a good understanding of what happened, and of the corrective action taken by the railway.

 

"This was a serious incident affecting a number of Pictou County residents," said MacLellan, in a new srelease. "While as regulator, the department is satisfied with the corrective action taken by the railway, this doesn't mean that we're moving on from this issue. We have asked our inspectors to ensure the railway follows through on its preventative actions, and will be watching it very closely to ensure it is doing all it can to prevent another derailment."

 

The department received the derailment incident report from the railway Tuesday. The derailment report and corrective and preventative actions were reviewed by Transport Canada rail inspectors. The department contracts Transport Canada to inspect short-line railways in Nova Scotia.

 

The department has advised the railway it is satisfied with the corrective actions, and that it has met its regulatory obligations. The department has requested Transport Canada inspectors follow up on the railway's commitment to take preventative actions.

 

The report details the railway's response:

-- 300 feet of track was replaced by 39-foot track panels from the point of derailment through the derailment site to considerably reduce risks of track buckle

-- stress test was performed on the rail line

-- rail maintenance requirements were reviewed with employees

 

The railway is also taking preventative measures, including:

-- developing a new rail technical training program

-- restricting train speed to 40 kilometres per hour between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m., for the summer. In extreme heat, train speed may be reduced to 16 km/h or train operation cancelled, if warranted.

 

Seven cars derailed in the June 9 incident in West River, with six homes evacuated as a precaution.

 

The railway is responsible for the safety of rail operations. The province's role as regulator is to ensure the railway is complies with provincial and federal safety regulations.

Organizations: Transport Canada

Geographic location: Pictou County, Nova Scotia, West River

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