St-Lazare derailment investigation ongoing

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The final report into an early 2019 train derailment that spilled more than 800,000 litres of crude oil near St-Lazare is still ongoing nearly two years later.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/02/2021 (561 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The final report into an early 2019 train derailment that spilled more than 800,000 litres of crude oil near St-Lazare is still ongoing nearly two years later.

The Sun reported in July 2019 the Transportation Safety Board’s report into the February 2019 derailment was due to be completed in late 2020 — 600 days later.

But as of Wednesday, the report has not been completed.

Overhead footage of the St-Lazare derailment taken with a drone by Curtis McLeod and Amon Rudolph. (Submitted)

Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Julie Leroux said in an email the investigation is ongoing and there is no new information to share.

“Investigations are complex, and we take the time necessary to conduct a thorough investigation to advance transportation safety,” she said.

“Be assured that, if we uncover serious safety deficiencies during the course of our investigation, we will not wait until the final report to make them known. We will inform industry and the regulator as quickly as possible.”

On Feb. 16, 2019, 37 railcars carrying crude oil derailed and crashed in the countryside near St-Lazare. The town is approximately a two-hour drive northwest of Brandon and near the Saskatchewan border.

Fourteen cars ruptured, spilling a combined 820,000 litres of oil. At the time, there was concern the oil could spill into the Assiniboine River, but it was all recovered.

The investigation is a class two investigation, which means it is complex and involves “several safety issues requiring in-depth analysis,” according to the safety board. Class two investigations are generally completed within 600 days, the board says, which would have been in late 2020.

According to the Transportation Safety Board’s summary of the incident, seven of the derailed cars were chosen for a more detailed analysis. Samples from the cars were sent to the board’s laboratory in Ottawa for further scrutiny.

“A number of wheel sets from the derailed cars were visually examined, documented and released back to the railway. Various track components recovered from the site were sent to the TSB Engineering Laboratory for failure analysis,” the summary reads.

The investigation is in the examination and analysis phase, which is when the board tests components of the wreckage to determine what went wrong. This is the same stage the investigation was at in July 2019, when the Sun first reported the approximate due date.

A spokesperson for the Transportation Safety Board said at the time that the next phase is the report phase, after which the final report will be made public a few days or weeks later.

Class two investigations typically result in the board making safety recommendations.

» dmay@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @DrewMay_

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