Northern Health report finds 44 northern B.C. railway accidents in 2012

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

Data from the Transportation Safety Board, along with media reports, was used to compile reportable accidents and incidents since 2003. 

In total, 44 railways “accidents”, which are identified by serious or fatal injury, or a collision, fire or explosion, occurred in 2012, which is higher than the lowest number of 18 in 2003, but lower than the 10-year peak of 69 in 2007. As of June 2013, there had been 28. 

Of the 592 included events, 35 occurred near Chetwynd, 31 in the FortSt. John area, eight around Dawson Creek, another eight in Taylor, seven in the Fort Nelson region, and five by Tumbler Ridge. 

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Among those so far this year are a derailment at the CN Rail yards in Chetwynd, a derailment south of Chetwynd where eight of 12 sulpher cars ended up on their sides, a derailment near Fort St. John while switching at a customer facility, and a derailment in CN Rail yards in Fort Nelson. 

Between 2003 and 2012, four of these occurrences have been the subject of full TSB investigations. The Northern Health report also found that derailments during common yard operations like switching and kicking are frequent, noting that 259 of the 592 events listed occurred in rail yards. The “vigilance” of crews during routine inspections is also a factor in several of the incidents.

The full Northern Health can be downloaded below, or by clicking here.

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