TSB to release investigation report into fatal triple train derailment

Three years after a fatal triple derailment of CP Rail in the mountains near the British Columbia and Alberta border, Canada’s safety watchdog is set to release its findings under the close watch of the family members of the victim.

“I want anyone involved in the murder of this crew to be held accountable,” said Pam Fraser, mother of conductor Dylan Paradis, 33, who was killed in the crash.

The Transportation Safety Board’s final report follows a lengthy investigation into the February 2019 deaths of three Calgary men: Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell, 56, and intern Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, 26.

The men were killed on train 301 when 99 grain cars derailed and the train’s lead locomotive landed in the Kicking Horse River.

The TSB issued a rail safety advisory in 2020 that revealed numerous issues with the brakes and the brake inspection process on train 301.

Families of the victims are hoping for answers today – answers they hope could change rail safety and policing policies.

“I need my son’s death to have meaning,” Fraser said from his home in High River.

“Maybe I can live better with all of this if there can be a purpose.”

Freezing temperatures, runaway train

In early February 2019, after days of -30 wind chills and a long power outage at CP’s dormitory at Field BC, CP continued to operate its trains through the notoriously dangerous mountain pass of the Spiral Tunnels.

Train 301, a two kilometer freight train loaded with grain, stood still for hours without hand brakes. The brake system lost all air pressure and the train rolled down the mountain on its own, picking up speed and eventually derailed around a bend, partially landing in the freezing river.

The aftermath of the 2019 train derailment in British Columbia that killed three crew members. (Anis Heydari/CBC)

In 2020, Pam Fraser, the mother of conductor Dylan Paradis, filed formal complaints with the RCMP, begging them to investigate possible negligence in the accident and obstruction by the tracks.

Until then, the only police service to have formally investigated the crash was CP’s Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS).

The RCMP investigation into the derailment is continuing.

The Dockrell and Paradis families have filed a lawsuit accusing the TSB of conspiring with CP Rail to block a criminal investigation into the derailment.

The lawsuit, filed in Vancouver, alleged that the TSB gave in to threats from CP Rail and muzzled its lead investigator in an ‘elaborate and aggressive’ strategy to prevent the RCMP from investigating the company’s role in the crash. .

CP called the lawsuit “misleading” and says the railroad “continues to cooperate fully with all investigations.”

These families have also launched a separate lawsuit accusing the company of cutting corners to save money at the expense of worker safety.

The allegations have not been proven in court.