MP ASHTON CALLS FOR INQUIRY INTO PONTON TRAIN DERAILMENT

Dear Minister Garneau,

On September 15th, 2018, a train derailed in Ponton, Manitoba, resulting in the death of a conductor, Kevin Anderson, and life changing injuries to a locomotive engineer. The crash was reported to the RCMP around 5:45 pm and officers arrived on the scene around 7 pm. The officers spent roughly five hours with the two men until emergency responders arrived just before midnight so that rescue operations could proceed.

Mr. Anderson died around 1 am from internal bleeding.

A Transport Canada Inspector, on behalf of the Minister of Labour, issued a directive to Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) with respect to irregularities or failures. The directive is found in the last two pages of the document attached and is fairly compelling.  The directive has been posted at HBR with a cover letter from the employer saying they dispute it and the letter is not to be circulated.

HBR is appealing the findings of the Safety Inspector.  Their appeal is attached as well.

The initial Transport Canada findings seem to confirm the union’s investigation and bring to light a fact previously unknown to the Union.  The culvert appears to have been identified as a trouble spot.  On September 10, the VIA passenger train was required to reduce speed to 10 mph and proceeded while being observed by track forces.  Some “corrective measures” were taken and the speed restriction was removed.  We know what happened five days later.

There is a need for a full inquiry into this matter and I urge your office to move forward with one.

I look forward to keeping in touch on this very serious matter.

Sincerely,

MP Niki Ashton