A report from the Transportation Safety Board indicates unstable ground beneath the train tracks led to a serious derailment in May of 2020.

On May 25th 2020, 53 rail cars carrying grain derailed on a section of track 21 km west of Ignace, destroying 1600 feet of track in a pair of pileups and causing several cars to spill their contents.

Fortunately neither the locomotive engineer or the conductor were injured in the incident.

Findings from the T-S-B’s report indicate shortly before 3 p.m. a train-initiated emergency brake application occurred as the eastbound train was traveled along a section of track that had its peat subgrade saturated with water, due to excessive rainfall that month, and as a result had lost its ability to bear excessive weights.

The train separated after the 26th car with a gap of 30 car lengths between that car and the two pileups of derailed cars, which consisted of one pile of 28 cars and a second of 25 cars, with four cars in between the two pileups which stayed on the track.

Starting in March of that year C-P Rail increased the length and in effect the weights of grain trains traveling between Winnipeg and Thunder Bay, with 32 trains consisting of 224 cars making the trip prior to the incident weighing on average almost 31 tonnes.

Following the incident C-P has installed a new toe berm and completed stabilization and rehabilitated the area which will evenly distribute the pressure placed on the track subgrade and will include a tail end locomotive to improve braking ability.

A full copy of the report can be found here.