GATINEAU, Quebec — Railroad investigators with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada have determined that poor track conditions and an inadequate drainage system caused a Huron Central Railway train to derail near Spanish, Ontario, in November 2015.
According to the investigative report, three locomotives and the first eight cars of the train derailed after the roadbed collapsed beneath the train. The collapsed roadbed also caused the north rail joint to break under the train. Further back in the train consist, five additional empty cars derailed near the middle of the train due to compressive in-train forces from the locomotives derailing.
Investigators say that Huron Central’s track inspection and maintenance program was not effective in dealing with different types of track infrastructure issues, such as drainage, track instability and rail joint defects. In this instance, a blocked culvert had resulted in inadequate drainage during several days of heavy rainfall.
The derailment took place near Milepost 72.08 on the railroad’s Webbwood subdivision in Spanish, Ontario. The train was traveling westbound at 25 mph when it derailed on the night of Nov. 1, 2015. Approximately 225 feet of roadbed was destroyed in the incident.
The Huron Central is a Genesee & Wyoming-managed short line railroad operating 173 track miles between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury in Ontario.