On April 20, 2017, three maintenance crew members were killed and two more were injured when a logging train derailed on Vancouver Island. WorkSafe B.C. has determined that faulty equipment and mechanical errors were the cause of the derailment.
It has been determined that Western Forest Products, the company that was working on the now-defunct Englewood Railway, failed to ensure the health and safety of workers. According to the WorkSafe B.C. report, a faulty coupler caused a total of 11 loaded railcars to detach and roll 500 meters down the track where they eventually collide with a maintenance car and rubber-tired backhoe. The railcars, maintenance car, backhoe, and the five employees working on the equipment were dragged an additional 1.5 kilometers until they derailed. The men were buried by logs during the derailment.
The report also shows that the derail device on the train that could have forced a derailment prior to the cars reaching the maintenance crew was not working properly. The device was attached to old, rotted rail ties. As a result, instead of diverting the cars as it was designed to do, the device was dislodged when it was hit by the first set of wheels which rendered it useless. Without the device, the wheels of the railcars remained on the tracks until striking the maintenance crew.
Western Forest Products issued the following statement yesterday: “The safety and security of our employees has and always will be our number one priority. This was a tragic incident that will forever impact the families of those lost and injured, all of those who worked alongside them and our company as a whole. We continue to work to ensure that families, workers and all affected by this tragic incident are supported in any way we can.”
The Transportation Safety Board also conducted an investigation following the derailment but has not released their findings.
A host of errors blamed in Vancouver Island logging train derailment that claimed 3 lives