Three dead following CP Rail train derailment near Field, B.C. | The ProvinceFebruary 6, 2019 5:21 pm
The three-person crew had just taken over the train east of Field before it fell more than 60 metres from a bridge to land in the Kicking Horse River.
A Canadian Pacific Railway train was travelling more than twice the speed limit just before it derailed near Field early Monday, killing three crew members as the train crashed into the Kicking Horse River.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is investigating.
CP Rail spokeswoman Salem Woodrow confirmed the derailment took place Monday at around 1 a.m. Mountain Time, between Field and Calgary. Field is just west of Banff along the Trans-Canada Highway, near the B.C.-Alberta border.
“It is with great sadness that CP reports that three crew members on-board were fatally injured in the incident,” the statement read. “Our condolences and prayers go out to their families, friends and colleagues. A full investigation will take place to determine the cause of this incident.”
According to a Facebook post by Albe Bulmer, one of the victims was his son Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer. He wrote “I lost one of the jewels in my crown last night in a tragic accident while he was training to be a conductor for CP Rail. He will be sadly missed by me his father and mentor as he loved adventure and challenge as I do. And all his friends and family, especially his brother Jeremy, Mericka and baby Tenely Waldenberger Bulmer.”
Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer’s Facebook page states that he lives in Victoria, B.C.
The other men killed in the crash were conductor Dylan Paradis and engineer Andrew Dockrell.
Woodrow said the train was carrying “grain and grain products.” The train, which had three locomotives and 112 cars, was headed toward Vancouver.
A CP Rail employee with knowledge of the incident said the westbound train derailed as it was exiting the Lower Spiral Tunnel and crossing a bridge over the Kicking Horse River. The Upper and Lower Spiral tunnels are a pair of looped railway tunnels that decrease the track elevation for trains travelling through the mountain pass.
“That’s one of the steepest grades on CP, coming down from the top of the hill,” said the employee, who is familiar with that stretch of track. “There’s actually instructions in our timetable about how to come down that hill, like where you should be setting the brakes here and here. It’s very specific and if you do one wrong move, you’re done for.”
The employee said that protocol dictates an emergency brake be applied if a train reaches five kilometres over the limit on that stretch of track, suggesting that means cold weather or a mechanical failure may have been a factor.
— TSB of Canada (@TSBCanada)
According to the Teamsters Canada, the union representing more than 16,000 Canadian rail workers, the three individuals killed were the train’s conductor, engineer and a conductor trainee. The three-person crew from Calgary had just taken over the train east of Field before the train fell more than 60 metres from a bridge to land in the Kicking Horse River.
The engineer had more than two decades of railway experience, according to union spokesman Greg Edwards. He was uncertain about the other two crew members. Two of the men were found outside and the other was still inside the train.
“Everybody I’ve spoken with both within the company and within the union is just devastated by this,” he said. “It’s just terrible, terrible news … I got the call in the middle of the night and it’s one of the worst calls that you want to take.”
“The government and the rail industry will have to recognize that something is wrong. Eight workplace fatalities in over a year is not something that should be expected or accepted.” #CpRail #Canlab #ablab #bclab #polcan https://t.co/jTYBuaHOs2
— Teamsters Canada (@TeamstersCanada)
Eric Collard, a spokesman with the TSB, said between 40 and 60 cars are believed to have derailed, adding the crash zone is fairly remote.
“The only access to the site is by hi-rail (a vehicle that operates on rail tracks),” said Collard, noting two investigators are already at the scene, with another pair en route from Calgary. “It could take some time to do an assessment. We’re hoping to do an update (Tuesday) in Calgary.”
Gavin Young /
Since November 2017, eight railway workers have died in Canada. Investigations into those deaths are ongoing.
B.C.’s Environment Ministry confirmed between 30 and 40 grain cars are off the tracks, some rolling down an embankment into the Kicking Horse River. Spokesman David Karn said the situation is being monitored and there is no immediate word of fuel or other contaminants entering the water.
Parks Canada spokeswoman Lesley Matheson confirmed they were at the scene managing the incident and co-ordinating the cleanup with CP Rail.
“The extent of the environmental impact of the derailment is currently unknown. Based on an initial assessment, there is no threat to public safety,” said Matheson in an email. “Parks Canada is committed to the protection of the environment in the national parks and is working closely with Canadian Pacific Railway to determine the extent of cleanup operations required.
“Parks Canada will ensure that all appropriate safety and environmental regulations are followed and will continue to assist CP Rail with cleanup efforts and investigations over the coming days.”
The CP Rail employee pleaded for the public to remember that beyond any possible environmental impacts, there were three lives lost.
“At the end of the day, the human aspect of it is far greater than anything else right now. There’s three people not coming home to their families,” said the employee.
“Everybody thinks that freight trains are like the SkyTrain, like there’s nobody on it and it’s push a button and go, but there’s a human side to that.”
—With files from David Carrigg and Shawn Logan of The Canadian Press
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