The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is launching an official investigation into the case of a runaway rail car that rolled away from the Co-op Refinery Complex just before midnight on Tuesday, March 1.
The rail car was full of asphalt and reached a speed of up to 18 kilometres per hour as it rolled for about four kilometres down the main CN Rail line. It crossed Ring Road, Winnipeg Street, Broad Street and Albert Street, before coming to a stop on its own near Elphinstone Street.
Lee Jebb is the vice president of Cando Rail which is the company responsible for loading asphalt and assembling rail cars at the refinery.
On Friday he told News Talk Radio that the air brake on the rail car was set but a worker was too far away to reach the handbrake when the air brake released.
Although the rail car was brought under control within 15 minutes, the mayor and fire chief raised concerns that they were not informed about the incident until reporters called them three days later.
Jebb joined MainStreet to discuss the issue on Monday afternoon.
“We have to apologize to the mayor and to the citizens of Regina. We really regret that our incident has put everyone’s safety at risk and we’re working to fix that up,” he said.
“We have to apologize to the mayor and to the citizens of Regina. We really regret that our incident has put everyone’s safety at risk and we’re working to fix that up.” – Lee Jebb, vice president with Cando Rail.
He went on to explain that Cando Rail followed emergency procedures including notifying the Regina police immediately when the rail car got loose and again when it was brought under control. He said the company is conducting its own internal investigation and will release a full report this week to explain what happened.
“We’ll figure it out. We’ll fix it. We’ll get it right, and we’ll tell people what happened,” Jebb said.
He admits the situation has revealed some gaps in communication. He said Cando has reached out to the mayor’s office, the city manager, the fire department and the provincial department of highways.
“We’re pulling together a conversation with all the relevant departments and ministries at the city and the province to work and identify what went wrong and to plug some gaps here,” Jebb said.
According to a media relations person with the TSB, rail companies like this one set their own policies around informing the public about these types of issues. They are only required to inform the TSB itself about these issues and the TSB has no official mandate to tell the public.
On Monday CN Rail told News Talk Radio that it suspended operations with Cando Rail. According to Cando Rail, operations have already resumed. On Tuesday afternoon a media relations person for CN Rail clarified that the company did suspend operations with Cando Rail immediately following the incident and that operations had since resumed. CN Rail would not provide any further comment on exactly when operations with Cando Rail resumed.