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Engineer: 2012 CN train crash avoidable

Feb. 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

TORONTO, Quebec, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- An Ontario crash that killed three operators and hurt 45 passengers in 2012 could have been prevented, a former Canada National Railway engineer says.

The Via Rail train was going 67 mph from Niagara to Toronto on Feb. 26, 2012, when it flew off the rails and smashed into a building, rolling five passenger cars.

Scott Holmes, a project engineer who worked for CN for 28 years, said the accident occurred after the train was directed onto a sharply curved "obsolete" crossover designed for trains moving no faster than 15 mph, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

Holmes said he first raised concerns about the crossover in 2006 and recommended it be removed or upgraded. However, David Barnett, a project engineer for regional public transit service GO Transit, the inter-regional public transit system in Southern Ontario, told him there was no money for an upgrade because the crossover switches were seldom used, the CBC report said..

The Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, said it was focusing on "the operation of the train, the operation of the signals and the crashworthiness of the rolling stock."

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