Bad Line-up?
  News    Contact Us    Links    295 Search    RailCity    VRU    
  News & Updates  
  News Archives  
  Agreements & Benefits  
  About the TCRC & 295  
  Resource Library  
  Rights, Safety & Health  

Have you been forced to be on duty over 10, 11 or 12? If so we need to know why.
Click here...

Railroad workers have been fighting fatigue in the rail industry for decades but the problem persists.
Click here...

295 Meetings
The next meeting of Division 295 will be held on March 14th at 19:00.

Map... | Meeting Schedule... 


Train derailment workload study off the rails
Published: February 11, 2008
Printer friendly version

Rail traffic controller workload cited as problem.

WHITBY -- Union officials and local councillors are frustrated a planned workload study of rail traffic controllers has been shelved.

The study was to come out of a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report on the catastrophic January 2004 Whitby derailment that left two women dead when train cars fell from the Garden Street overpass on top of their vehicle. Kathleen Kellachan, of Whitby, and her niece, Christine Harrington, of Keswick, were killed instantly.

The report, released in 2006, outlined a series of events it said resulted in the derailment. Included as a possible cause of the derailment was a heavy workload for rail traffic controllers across the Belleville subdivision at the time leading up to the event.

Transport Canada is not going to commission a workload study because it would be "redundant" when it is already aware workloads are high, said Transport Canada spokeswoman Tina Bouchard. Transport Canada representatives met with representatives from the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference on Jan. 11 and were told about high workloads experienced by rail traffic controllers, Ms. Bouchard said.

"We are developing protocols for addressing peak periods of workload and the resulting stress to operators," she said.

The new protocols, which would include new training and qualification rules, are being developed as a result of the agency's knowledge of the high workloads, she said.
But Jim Ruddick, Teamsters Canada Rail Conference chairman, said the study is still necessary.

"They (Transportation Safety Board) thought it was important at the time to conduct the study and for 10 months to follow," Mr. Ruddick said. "Why, all of sudden, is it no longer a priority?"

The Teamsters group represents about 500 rail traffic controllers with Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National and Ottawa Valley Railway.
"Our organization has concerns about the (rail traffic controller) workload," he said.

Mr. Ruddick wrote a letter expressing his organization's concern about the cancelled study to Town Council and Whitby-Oshawa MP Jim Flaherty's office. When the letter was received as information by council on Jan. 28, Councillor Don Mitchell raised a motion to endorse the letter and send it to the appropriate federal office.

Councillor Gerry Emm said a stronger step was needed.

"It is certainly important that we take every effort to ensure they follow through," he said.

Council voted for staff to prepare a follow-up report on the issue.

Mr. Ruddick said he does not believe having a third party perform a study about workload conditions would be redundant. Rail traffic controllers' workloads vary, from times when everything is working properly to situations where there are huge snowstorms or other issues, he said.

"A rail traffic controller's workload is extremely heavy at the best of times," Mr. Ruddick said. "There is value in a study to get to the root cause of the workload."



TSB # R04/2006

(Gatineau, Quebec, May 9, 2006) - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) today released its final report (R04T0008) into the January 14, 2004 derailment of Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) train 239-13. The derailment occurred just east of the Garden Street overpass in Whitby, Ontario. Rail car platforms and containers fell onto the roadway below, striking a southbound vehicle and fatally injuring the two occupants.

Several safety actions have been taken as a result of the TSB investigation. Transport Canada issued an order changing the procedures on how CPR operates when an unidentified track occupancy (UTO) occurs. The TSB issued two safety communications: the first concerning inspection and reporting of damaged or broken rail, and the second concerning shattered rim defects in wheels manufactured by ABC Rail (formerly Abex Southern Corporation). CPR has instituted procedures to address both issues. It has also instituted rail traffic control software enhancements to visually alert the rail traffic controller (RTC) when a second UTO occurs behind a train, and has improved documentation procedures to better identify track anomalies.

During its investigation into this fatal accident, the TSB noted that insufficient measures were in place to address very high workload situations. In its report, the Board has recommended that Transport Canada work with the Railway Association of Canada to implement rail traffic control protocols and training that will recognize periods of high workload and make safety paramount.

A damaged wheel on the front truck of the 39th car behind the locomotives of the westbound train fractured the south rail at Mile 178.20 of the Belleville Subdivision, leading to the derailment of the following cars.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

The public report, R04T0008, and photos are also available on this site.


News | Contact us | Agreements | Resources | Safety | Site Map | Report A Broken Link

Division 295 - Teamsters Canada Rail Conference - 2016