A CP Rail manager has been found guilty of contravening Transportation Canada’s Emergency Directive when directing staff to leave a train containing explosive materials on a mountain slope without hand brakes in Feb. 2015. (Black Press File photo)

A CP Rail manager has been found guilty of contravening Transportation Canada’s Emergency Directive when directing staff to leave a train containing explosive materials on a mountain slope without hand brakes in Feb. 2015. (Black Press File photo)

CP Rail manager guilty after train carrying dangerous goods left unattended

The train was left without hand brakes east of Revelstoke in February 2015

A CP Rail manager, who directed staff to leave a train parked east of Revelstoke without hand brakes in Feb. 2015, has been found guilty under the Railway Safety Act.

Tim McClelland was found guilty on two counts while CP Rail, which was also charged, was found not guilty.

“I am satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that the Canadian Pacific Railway Company exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of the offences,” said Judge Richard Hewson in his decision document.

Mark Jackson, superintendent of the mountain subdivision of CP Rail at the time, was also found not guilty.

Hewson said that though Jackson made a mistake, it was reasonable given the information Jackson was provided by McClelland on the day of the incident.

On Feb. 15, 2015, the crew of CPR Train 401 left 58 rail cars, 19 with oil and two with ammonium nitrate, unattended on the main track at the Greerly staging point, east of Revelstoke. Only emergency brakes were applied.

READ MORE: CP Rail investigated for parking train without hand brakes near Revelstoke

“The crew left the cars in that condition because they acted on their understanding of direction relayed to them by the Rail Traffic controller, who had received those directions from two members of the railway’s management,” the judge said.

Under the Transportation Ministry’s Emergency Directive, key trains–trains with more than 20 cars with dangerous goods–cannot be left unattended on the main track. The directive also specifies the number of hand brakes required to be applied to unattended railway equipment, based on the grade of the rail line and the weight of the train.

The two crew members were called out at 5:35 p.m. and directed to re-crew Train 401 and return it to Revelstoke. The Teamsters Union had called a strike that day, to begin at 10 p.m., but crews are required to finish a trip before striking.

However, the Revelstoke rail yard was full and an alternate plan was communicated on where the team was to tie down Train 401.

The plan could be accomplished in five distinct movements, which Hewson described in his judgment.

  1. The Westbound train is stopped on the south main track at the Greely staging point sign and the train is cut just behind car 94, the last of the cars containing fuel oil.
  2. The head end of the train is moved forward about three miles through the Greely crossover, until it is completely west of the Greely crossover and on the north main track.
  3. The head end of the train is then reversed into the Greely backtrack and the 19 cars containing fuel oil are separated and tied down.
  4. The head end of the train is then pulled forward, leaving the 19 cars containing fuel oil in the backtrack. It pulls forward until it is entirely west of the Greely crossover again.
  5. Finally, the head end of the train is pushed back east, through the Greely crossover back on the south main track, until it reaches the point at which the tail end was left in the first movement. The head end and the tail end are re-coupled. The train, now containing only two dangerous goods cars and no longer a key train, can be tied down on the main track.

Both of the crew members testified at the trial that the switching movement was unusual and complicated, however the greatest complication was adhering to Transportation Canada’s Emergency Directive and apply handbrakes to the equipment that was left unattended.

“As Train 401 moved west toward Revelstoke…the crew made several radio calls to the rail traffic controller with questions and concerns about the movement as they understood it,” Hewson said.

The traffic controller referred to McClelland for clarification, who asked Jackson for advice. The court saw recordings and transcriptions of those communications as exhibits in the trial, which took place May 7-10, 14 and 15 in Revelstoke.

In one recording, which was quoted by the judge in his decision, McClelland asked whether or not the crew needed to apply the 40 handbrakes before pushing the cars in and then knock them off and then tie on another 40 when they come into Revelstoke.

Jackson said “No, no, no” and agreed with McClelland that the crew could leave the train in emergency.

The crew, confused by these directions, repeated them to the traffic controllers in order to ensure they fully understood what they were being asked to do.

In the end, the crew reluctantly followed the directions given to them, leaving the tail end of the train standing on the south main track, east of the Greely staging point sign, unattended and without hand brakes, which contravenes the Emergency Directive.

The train was later moved without incident.

Transportation Canada opened an investigation into the incident, which included a team sent to Revelstoke as well as a raid of CP Rail’s headquarters in Calgary.

READ MORE: Transport Canada continues to investigate CP Rail Greely incident

They charged CP Rail, McClelland and Jackson in January 2017 and the first court appearance was Feb. 1, 2017. McClelland will appear in court again on July 25 to fix a sentencing date.

READ MORE: CP Rail charged after train allegedly ordered parked without brakes near Revelstoke

READ MORE: Not guilty please entered in connection with Greely incident near Revelstoke


 

@JDoll_Revy
jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

From October 2020 to April 2021 more than 540 centimeters of snow fell at Barkerville. (Lindsay Chung - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Not so average April snowfall in Barkerville

59 centimeters of white stuff fell last month

Quesnel RCMP Staff Sergeant Darren Dodge took the job in June 2020. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel RCMP Staff Sergeant praises work of mental health crisis team

“I know people will say, ‘is this the role for police?’ and I don’t know,” Darren Dodge said of the unit

Crews work to repair Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake . (Ministry of Transportation video)
MoTI activates district operations centre, response to flood damaged roads in Cariboo region

Engineers, experts being pulled from across the province to help

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

(Kamloops This Week)
Puppy’s home in question as BC Supreme Court considers canine clash

Justice Joel Groves granted an injunction prohibiting the sale or transfer of the dog

Most Read