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CP Rail will upgrade testing of train brakes on grain cars following a derailment that killed three workers and in light of research showing defects in the process, the company said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Transportation Safety Board released details of a study begun in 2015 involving Transport Canada, the National Research Council (NRC) and CP Rail that showed the current manual testing of brakes, known as No. 1, was unreliable in cold weather on grain cars.
It found the Automated Train Brake Effectiveness (ATBE) process to be 139 times more likely to detect faulty brakes than the No. 1 test that was used to green light a 112-car westbound train that later suffered a brake failure, sending it careening down a steep slope and through the Spiral Tunnels near Field B.C. on Feb. 4, 2019.
Ninety-nine of the cars and two locomotives on train 301-349 derailed, killing conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer.
Cold temperatures are known to impair the effectiveness of train air brakes.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for CP Rail said the company was moving ahead with expanding the use of ATBE, which it has already employed for trains moving potash and sulphur.
“CP has been in discussions with Transport Canada throughout and is anticipating that it will be ready to file its submission for the adoption of the ATBE technology for its grain fleet later this year,” Salem Woodrow said in a statement.
“Since the release of the NRC study, CP has and continues to gather and study additional data and test different algorithms in order to further expand the use of ATBE to its grain fleet.”
This article first appeared on calgaryherald.com
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