Whereas section 32.01 of the Railway Safety Act (RSA) provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to order a company, road authority or municipality to stop any activity that might constitute a threat to safe railway operations or to follow the procedures or take the corrective measures specified in the order, including constructing, altering, operating, or maintaining a railway work.
Whereas while executing its Heritage Program, VIA Rail Canada Inc. (VIA) has identified structural conditions with its Head-end Power (HEP) cars and these conditions may pose a safety concern in a collision event.
Whereas, notwithstanding VIA's engineering consultant concurrence with VIA's prior findings that the HEP cars can continue to withstand normal operating loads in regular service, the engineering consultant has recommended operational measures and additional analysis to mitigate the safety concern until a structural reinforcement and repair program of the entire HEP fleet has been undertaken.
And whereas, pursuant to section 45 of the RSA, the Minister of Transport has, in writing, authorized the Director General, Rail Safety, to make an order under section 32.0 of that Act.
Therefore, I find it necessary in the interests of safe railway operations to make this order, under section 32.01 of the RSA, requiring VIA to:
- Implement the following operational mitigations to reduce the potential consequences of a collision event:
- Position empty rolling stock directly behind the locomotive and as the last car in any train that includes HEP cars to act as a buffer.
- Ensure HEP cars are positioned as per the engineering consultant's recommendation to minimize energy transfer and impact to an occupied car.
- Conduct an engineering simulation of predicted HEP car collision performance and provide to Transport Canada a report summarizing the assumptions and findings by October 31, 2022.
- Conduct a tear down inspection of four HEP cars with structural defects to identify whether additional structural conditions, which are only visible in this invasive-type inspection, are present and provide Transport Canada with a copy of the inspection report and a list of recommended actions by January 31, 2023.
- Conduct a static structural test (compression test) to the requirements of the Association of American Railroads - S034, of at least two unrepaired HEP cars, to validate the structural capacity and provide Transport Canada a copy of the test report and an assessment of how the test outcomes will inform future repairs and mitigating measures by January 31, 2023.
- Provide the final report of the engineering simulation, incorporating findings from tear down and static structural tests required in item 3 and item 4 by March 31, 2023.
- Conduct a static structural test (compression test) to the requirements in the Association of American Railroads - S034, of at least one fully repaired HEP car, to validate the repair methodology and provide TC a copy of the test report and an assessment of how test outcomes will inform future repairs and mitigating measures by December 31, 2023.
This Order takes effect on October 19, 2022 and will remain in effect unless it is repealed by the Minister of Transport.
Pursuant to subsection 32.1(1) of the RSA, a person to whom an order is sent under section 32.01 of the RSA may, on the date specified in the order, file a request for a review with the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada (Tribunal).
If you intend to request a review of this Order, you must file a request in writing with the Tribunal, which must be postmarked no later than November 18, 2022.
Pursuant to section 32.3 of the RSA an order issued under section 32.01 of the RSA shall not be stayed pending a review requested under section 32.1, an appeal under section 32.2 or a reconsideration by the Minister of Transport under subsection 32.1(5) or 32.2.(3) of the RSA.
Director General, Rail Safety
October 19, 2022