On February 4, 2019, a Canadian Pacific grain train derailed while rolling through Kicking Horse Pass, which is close to Field, B.C. All three crew members were killed. The tragedy began shortly after a new crew boarded the train and it began to move on its own. According to the Calgary Herald, a study just released by Transport Canada, the National Research Council and CP Rail has shown the procedure for manually testing brakes is not effective in cold weather. As a result, the railroad will increase the use of a system called Automated Train Brake Effectiveness (ATBE). Canadian Pacific has been involved in the implementation and testing of ATBE since 2011, according to a report from the International Railway Safety Council.
RT&S contacted Canadian Pacific about the results of the latest study, and spokesperson Andy Cummings provided this statement:
For over a decade, CP has led the industry in developing and implementing Automated Train Brake Effectiveness (ATBE) technology. CP proactively seeks to continuously improve by developing and using science and technology to increase the safety of our employees and the communities through which we operate.
The National Research Council study was a catalyst for CP to further develop its ATBE algorithm, and recently CP received an exemption from Transport Canada to implement the use of this technology on its potash and sulphur fleets in place of the No. 1 brake test.
CP has been in discussions with TC 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.
Since the release of the NRC study, CP has and continues to actively gather and study additional data and test different algorithms in order to further expand the use of ATBE to its grain fleet.
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