Canadian safety stats show rise in rail accidents, fatalities

News Wire Digest for July 8: CP sets Canadian grain records in June; two men sentenced for thefts from NS, including hi-rail truck
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Wednesday morning rail news:

Transportation Safety Board stats show rise in Canadian rail accidents

From a safety standpoint, Canadian railroads did not have a good year in 2019. Statistics released Tuesday by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada show that federally regulated railways reported more accidents, fatalities, mainline collisions and derailments, and accidents leading to the release of hazardous materials than in 2018, and were also above the average for the previous 10 years in most of those categories. Among the notable statistics:

— There were 1,246 rail accidents reported during the calendar year, a 6.6% increase from the 1,169 accidents the year before and a 17% increase from the 2009-2018 average of 1,064.

— The 72 rail fatalities were an increase from 57 the previous year but just lower than the 10-year average of 73. That figure includes the deaths of five rail workers — the 10-year average was two — and 28 fatalities in grade-crossing incidents, up from 19 in 2018 and above the 10-year average of 22.

— The number of mainline accidents increased from 212 to 276, well above the 10-year average of 183; the accident rate of 3.3 main-track accidents per million train miles was up from 2.6 in 2018 and 42% above the 10-year average of 2.3.

— The main-track figures include 93 derailments, an increase from 87 in 2018 and 15% above the 10-year average of 81.

— There were a total of 169 accidents involving hazardous material, a 35% increase over 2018 and a 33% increase over the 10-year average. Of these, eight led to the release of hazardous materials, double the number in 2018 and 45% above the 10-year average.

Canadian Pacific sets June grain records
Canadian Pacific set two records for Canadian grain movement in June, continuing a record-setting year for both Canadian railroads in moving the commodity. CP moved 2.76 million metric tons of Canadian grain in June, breaking the previous record for the month of 2.4 million metric tons set in 2014. It also moved 8.41 million metric tons in the quarter, breaking the previous record of 7.9 million metric tons in the fourth quarter of 2019. Canadian Pacific announced its own series of grain-movement records on Tuesday [see “CN sets multiple Canadian grain-hauling records,” News Wire Digest, July 7, 2020].

Men sentenced, must pay almost $30,000 to NS for thefts
Two men must combine to pay Norfolk Southern $29,947 in restitution for a burglary from railroad facilities in 2018, including the theft of a hi-rail pickup that went badly wrong. The Roanoke Times reports Ray Travis Asbury, 33, and Michael Paul Voorhees, 39, both of Roanoke, Va., have pleaded guilty to breaking and entering and larceny for breaking into NS buildings and stealing computer monitors, power tools, a generator and the 2015 pick-up. The truck was damaged while being driven to Voorhees’ home; with stolen items found near there leading to his arrest. Three days later, the truck was found stuck in a field, abandoned; an all-terrain vehicle was stolen from a nearby dealership in an unsuccessful attempt to free the truck, with Ashbury later fleeing the area on a child’s bicycle. Both men received 10-year sentences, with Asbury’s to be suspended after 2½ years are served and Voorhees’ to be suspended after one year and three months.


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