Thursday, November 03, 2011

VIA 692 Incident

VIA's Hudson Bay leaving Winnipeg, June 6, 2010
VIA 692 was involved in what appears to be a serious rules violation / near miss near Grandview, Manitoba Tuesday around noon. The train ran about 11 km past Meharry siding on the CN Togo subdivision, where they were supposed to wait for CN 853. The article states they slowed to a stop, then ran in reverse to the siding and CN 853 arrived shortly afterward. A spokesman for VIA said both engineers were suspended without pay on the spot, awaiting the results of an investigation. The passengers were bused to Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported on it. I encourage you to read the article. Apparently a passenger on board the train "who is familiar with train operation" called the Free Press to tell them about it. To quote the Free Press: "I felt the rules violations were so serious the public should know," the passenger said. "There could have been a very serious incident."

Very serious indeed.

My amateur reading of the Canadian Rail Operating Rules (CROR) tells me they violated rule 304:
When a train or transfer has been restricted by clearance, such train or transfer must not leave the point named until it is positively known that the opposing trains or transfers named on the clearance have arrived.
Without knowing their orders, or more detail about the event, I could easily be wrong. Whatever the case, they were in danger the moment they ran past the siding. There are no block signals on that track to protect the trains, so they could have met head-on easily enough.

The passenger said that once they came to a stop, they ran in reverse back to the siding, "reaching speeds of about 50 to 65 km/h". The passenger said that there was initially no one on the rear of the train to protect the movement, but after about five minutes one of the engineers reached the rear of the train. Rule 115 (a) of the CROR states:
When equipment is shoved by an engine or is headed by an unmanned remotely controlled engine, a crew member must be on the leading piece of equipment or on the ground, in a position to observe the track to be used and to give signals or instructions necessary to control the move.

The WFP article says that the Transportation Safety Board is investigating, so it will all come out in their report. Thank goodness no one was hurt.

PS the photo is an old one of VIA 693 leaving Winnipeg on June 6, 2010... not the train in the article.

1 comment:

Tim said...

They are EXTREMELY lucky this didn't end much, much worse. There are rules for a reason...