Those who work on the rails for a living are mourning the loss of three of their colleagues in a derailment near Field, B.C., last week.
“Obviously, we’re all pretty upset by it,” said Brandon Myre, a Red Deer-based Canadian Pacific Railway engineer. “It’s a terrible, tragic incident.
“We’re a very close group of co-workers. It truly is a brotherhood.
“It hits very close to home for all of us that we’ve lost three of our brothers here,” said Myre, chairman of the local representing engineers for the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference.
Three CP crew members were killed when a 112-car runaway train with three engines derailed on Feb. 4. Trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, engineer Andrew Dockrell and conductor Dylan Paradis were identified as the victims.
Transportation Safety Board of Canada continues to investigate the crash.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau issued an order requiring all trains to apply handbrakes during emergency stops on all grades over 1.8 per cent. The Transportation Safety Board has said handbrakes were not applied in the derailment.
Air brakes had been applied on the Vancouver-based train, which was stopped on a grade east of Field. For some reason, it started moving on its own, picking up speed before derailing.
Myre, whose routes take him to Edmonton and Hardesty, said on Friday he did not know much more about what happened than what has already been made public.
“They haven’t really filled us in on too many details about what happened,” he said. “I’ve just read what’s been in the news. It’s pretty scary, that’s for sure.”
Railway companies are well aware of the challenges running trains through Canada’s winters. CP’s 2018-19 winter contingency plan says the “primary winter impact to a railway is extreme cold.”
The plan says that “when temperatures drop below -25 C, the physics of steel wheels on steel rails, and the technology behind air brake systems, in particular, demand slower speeds, and shorter, lighter trains.”