Source: Canadian Press
Published: July 5th 2006
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. -- The family of a CN
Rail crewmember killed in a derailment last week
is angry with how the railway handled the man's
death, according to this Canadian Press report.
Don Faulkner was one of two CN crewmen killed
when a locomotive and lumber car went off the
tracks on a steep grade near Lillooet, in
southern British Columbia, and burst into flame.
(Brother Faulkner was a member of UTU Local 1778
in North Vancouver, B.C.)
"I heard rumors," said his daughter, Melony
Faulkner. "I was under the impression for the
longest time that my dad burned to death.
"It's not enough they send out their piece of
(crap) train to kill my dad, they didn't have
the compassion to even tell us word one about
"We got their condolences over the TV and it is
still all we've gotten from them. Nobody from CN
Don Faulkner's son, Shane, who does contract
work at CN's Prince George rail yard, said he
found out about the Thursday afternoon accident
from family members just before going to work
early Friday morning.
"I had to be on-site at 2 a.m.," he said. "If
I'd found out about my father over coffee talk,
things would not have been pleasant."
Mr. Faulkner, 59, died when the CN locomotive
went out of control and plunged over a 300-metre
cliff into the Fraser River gorge.
Mr. Faulkner, the conductor, died in the
locomotive while brakeman Tommy Dodd, 55, died
on the loaded lumber car they were pulling as an
(Brother Dodd was also a member of UTU Local
Mr. Dodd was trying to set the car's manual
brake when the two speeding hulks separated,
both ending in balls of fire over the cliff.
Engineer Gordon Rhodes, 49, managed to leap free
of the 350-tonne locomotive.
All three were seasoned railway workers and
"I spoke with Gord," said Melony Faulkner. "He
is having a really hard time right now.
She said Mr. Rhodes is also angry because CN
workers had been warning the railway about
mechanical problems and technical dangers in the
way trains were being run through the Fraser
She said she hopes federal authorities now will
investigate those claims.
Mr. Rhodes told her the train's crew had plenty
of time to think about what would happen.
"He told me it is not like a car accident, where
you hit some ice and in a second it is all
done," said Melony Faulkner. "'We knew for miles
and miles what was going to happen, how it was
going to be,' he told me."
She said Mr. Rhodes told her that he and Mr.
Faulkner were prepared to leap off the hurtling
locomotive but couldn't find a safe place to
At the last second before the train left the
tracks, Mr. Rhodes made his move. He was injured
in the fall but it saved his life.
"He made it back to my dad," Shane Faulkner
said. "Dad wasn't alone at the end. Gord wasn't
sure if he had passed on or not, but he was
there for him. He didn't leave him until they
got there with the stretchers."
A funeral service for Mr. Faulkner is scheduled
for Friday in Kamloops, followed by another
service in Port Stanley, Ont., where most of his
The accident is under investigation. CN
officials wouldn't speculate on the cause but
there have been suggestions the locomotive's
CN Rail has been under a microscope after a
series of derailments, more than 20 in 2005.
A 43-car CN derailment near Wabamum, west of
Edmonton, dumped 700,000 liters of oil into a
lake last August.
Two days later, a CN train derailed and spilled
sodium hydroxide into the Cheakamus River about
30 kilometers north of Squamish, B.C., doing
substantial damage to the river's wildlife.
Figures from the Transportation Safety Board
show railway accidents have been climbing
steadily for all of Canada's railways.
Last December, CN Rail pleaded guilty to failing
to properly keep records of maintenance and
inspection work it did on a bridge where a fatal
derailment occurred in 2003. Two employees were
killed in that accident.