TSB recommends automatic slow, stop mechanism after deadly Via Rail crash

BURLINGTON, Ont. – The Transportation Safety Board says the operating crew of a Via Rail train which derailed west of Toronto last year “misperceived” crucial signals telling them to slow down before the fatal crash.

In its report on the Feb. 26, 2012, crash, the agency is recommending an automatic, fail-safe mechanism to slow or stop trains when a signal is missed be implemented across Canada’s rail network.

It’s one of three major recommendations made in the TSB’s 75-page report released this morning.

The train was travelling at more than 100 kilometres per hour when it went off the tracks just east of Aldershot station in Burlington, Ont., killing three engineers and injuring 44 passengers and a Via Rail employee.

The speed limit while changing tracks at that particular switch was 24 kilometres per hour.

The TSB says the crew had not properly responded to signals requiring a slowdown and that several factors could have been responsible for their actions, including the unexpected presence of a work crew on the tracks.

The report says the accident took place at a point in the route where the crew would normally go straight ahead at track speed.